The HR Guy Tips: #MeToo
My name is Russell Lookadoo, President and Chief Strategist for HRchitecture. I am The HR Guy for small businesses. My firm exists to leverage my expertise and experience in Human Resources so that the small business owners can achieve their dreams though effective use of their team.
Today I want to share with you a recent experience. A client called me after an employee came to him in distress, concerned about an incident she observed. It seemed that a co-worker ran out of the workplace crying. She followed the co-worker and learned that her manager tried to seduce her in an inventory room. Do you believe the manager actually locked the door behind him and asked if she enjoyed working for him? It is hard to believe in this day and time with all of the “me too” publicity that some managers still feel like this is acceptable behavior.
Sexual harassment or allowing a hostile work environment to exist is illegal and unacceptable. Regardless of the law, I believe that most business owners do not want that type of behavior in their place of business.
I immediately asked my client if the manager was still in the building? It seems that he was, so I instructed my client to immediately send the manager home pending investigation and to call me back. After calming my client down, I walked him through the next steps he needed to follow and things he needed to avoid. Bottom line, the bad manager is gone, and the employee is still working for him.
Every company, by law, has to have a written sexual harassment and hostile workplace policy in place that is communicated clearly.
Do you have a policy in your Employee Handbook?
Do you have posters in the break room?
Do you have well designed and executed training for all your employees and additional training for your supervisors?
Do you have written procedures on how complaints are handled?
Do you realize that by law once you are notified of an incident of this nature you are required to conduct a formal investigation?
Do you know how to conduct the investigation?
The investigation must be conducted in a manner that preserves confidentiality and maintains the dignity of all the people involved. It is often a good practice to have someone outside of the company conduct the investigation so that the employees believe it is conducted impartially and fairly.
In many states at least 1 to 2 hours of training annually is required so that this type of behavior is eradicated from the workplace.
No one wants to work in an environment where they do not feel safe. At best the good employees leave, at worst you can be sued with significant damages. Unfortunately as my client experienced, this behavior does still exist. You, as a business owner, need to be very clear that it will not be tolerated
Hopefully you will never experience this situation as a business owner. However, now is the time to take steps to make sure that if it does occur, you can be in a position to manage it.
This an example of the type of services that are offered to my clients, in preventing and dealing with these situations. If I can be of assistance, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can create a process customized for your business.