During an interview, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission used a Burger King franchise as an example in its discussion of steps that an employer should take to minimize sexual harassment lawsuits. The EEOC provided the following suggestions:
- Clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment (and other forms of discrimination) will not be tolerated.
- Provide sexual harassment training to their employees
- Establish an effective complaint or grievance process (make sure there is more than one way to complain, so you don't wind up with the fox guarding the henhouse, or a harasser/ harasser's best friend being the person who received complaints)
- Take all reports of discrimination or harassment seriously. This means making sure that all your employees know they have a duty to bring any unfair treatment or harassment to your attention.
- Managers act immediately to correct the situation. Respond with immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.
- Employees have a right to complain about treatment that they believe is illegal job discrimination. You cannot punish employees, treat them differently, or harass them because they report job discrimination or help someone else report job discrimination, even if it turns out that the conduct was not illegal.
Having the best policies in place is not enough. Business owners need to make sure that their managers are familiar with the policies and know how to enforce the policies. Follow this link for more on "EEOC Says How to Avoid Sexual Harassment Suits."