Me Too? Time for All Employers to Update their Anti-Harassment Policies | Ballard Spahr LLP – JDSupra January 22, 2018
Bruce’s Summary: Well 2018 is here and workplace harassment and retaliation allegations are still rolling in. It seems the talk is that everyone is still waiting for more workplace harassment and retaliation complaints to surface and surface they will. The tip of the iceberg is glaring and what’s underwater is yet to clearly surface and continue to raise more eyebrows with the shock of who it may be. Today, no one is shielded by the nature of their position, their status or current reputation, as has been seen of late.
However, one visible change in today’s work environment is a higher number of complaints are being openly and pointedly directed at the very top of the executive level regardless of industry or size. As we all know in the past for HR Professionals and small businesses one of the biggest challenges was not the fact of getting the message down through the employee ranks but more getting the message to permeate up the executive ladder. It no longer is acceptable for the executive ranks to ignore or not take such allegations seriously. Everyone is watching.
For HR Professionals and small businesses, now is the time is to ensure their house is in order for responding to workplace harassment and retaliation complaints. The author(s) indicate that although employers may have standard harassment and retaliation policies and procedures currently in place and they may have worked in the past, they may not work so well today. If there ever was a time to ensure both the “I”s are dotted and the “T”s are crossed in an employer’s policies, it’s now.
In reference to regulatory type training on such subjects as anti-harassment and retaliation training, more positive results were always achieved when the training was live and interactive.
In addition, as more allegations move up the executive ladder, employers must ensure that a clear recognition of neutrality of any investigation is paramount to the individuals involved, work environment and organization. One clear signal of neutrality of the investigation, especially within the executive ranks, is the use of an outside neutral investigator.
The author(s) suggest and provide examples for employers use in performing an audit of their current affected policies and procedures, training, reporting channels and considering pros and cons of utilizing internal/external investigators. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com