A clearly written, thoughtful sexual harassment policy clarifies your position to everyone on your staff, including potential perpetrators and their victims. It also provides solid proof to judges and juries that you’re committed to eliminating and preventing sexual harassment. Courts specifically look for such evidence that topdoes not tolerate inappropriate behavior.
The wording is up to you, but you’ll want to ensure that the language is clear, emphatic and easy to understand. Your policy should not read like a legal document or government regulation. It should answer questions, rather than raise them, and represent your most practical tool for educating employees about how to interact on the job.
You may use the model policy below or adapt it for your organization. The statement should appear on company letterhead, signed by the CEO or another high-level executive.
Sexual Harassment Policy
[Name of company] is pledged to preserving a working environment free from sexual harassment. Harassment is against the law and is a form of gender discrimination. [Name of company] does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, national origin, citizenship, veteran status, disability or any other personal characteristic unrelated to an employee’s ability to perform work requirements. The aim of this policy is to prevent harassment of any kind by anyone employed by or associated with the company.
Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or unwanted sexual attention by anyone associated with the company, whether male or female. Harassment may include references to employment status or conditions or may serve to create a hostile, intimidating or uncomfortable work environment. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, obscene jokes, lewd comments, sexual depictions, repeated requests for dates, touching, staring or other sexual conduct committed either on or off company premises.
Victims of sexual harassment have the right to sue both the company and the perpetrator by contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a state agency. For this reason and for the protection of all our employees, [name of company] seeks to prevent sexual harassment.
All [name of company] employees are responsible for helping ensure that our workplace is kept free of sexual harassment. If you feel you have been a victim of sexual harassment, report the behavior to our Sexual Harassment Coordinators [name, location, phone number] or to any supervisor, member of the personnel department or the company president. If you have witnessed sexual harassment, you also are urged to report the incident so that prompt action may be taken.
All complaints will be treated seriously, kept as confidential as possible and investigated fully. [Name of company] expressly forbids any retaliation against employees for reporting a sexual harassment incident. If, however, the company finds that false charges have been filed, disciplinary action may be taken against any individual who provides false information.
If an investigation confirms that sexual harassment has occurred, immediate action will be taken to put an end to the harassment. [Name of company] will take appropriate corrective actions against anyone found to be in violation of this policy, including possible termination of employment.
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