Employer obligations regarding sexual harassment workplace policy?

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Question:

I recently started my own small technology company. I am trying to make sure that I am complying with applicable Federal and state laws regarding the running of my business. I keep reading about sexual harassment in the workplace and employers' liability. What are my obligations as an employer regarding sexual harassment workplace policy?

Answer:

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, applies to private employers with 15 or more employees. Some state sexual harassment laws apply to private employers with less than 15 employees. Federal law makes employers liable to prevent and stop sexual harassment of their employees. Employers must (1) take reasonable care to prevent sexual harassment and (2) take reasonable care to promptly correct sexual harassment that has occurred. Several ways of complying with these requirements include:

  1. Having and distributing to all of your employees a sexual harassment workplace policy prohibiting sexual harassment;
  2. Informing employees how to make a sexual harassment complaint;
  3. Making sure that your sexual harassment workplace policy is enforced; and
  4. Investigating all sexual harassment complaints that you receive. Inform your human resources department to promptly review and resolve all sexual harassment complaints.

While Federal law does not specify what to include in your sexual harassment workplace policy, some state laws are more specific. You may, for example, be required to provide hr sexual harassment training. You might also have to provide information to your employees about state and Federal sexual harassment laws. Make sure to comply with both Federal and state requirements for sexual harassment workplace policy. 

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