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Preventing sexual harassment: A 5-step program

Florida employers can clean up even the most disgusting workplace environments that are fraught with sexual harassment by taking specific steps. This is not to say that the cleanup process will be easy, or that the people who are engaging in sexual harassment will be happy about it, but it's definitely possible to make things right at your workplace again.

Not only is it possible to clean up sexual harassment, but it's also the law. Employers who look the other way and don't take action to create a safe and psychologically supportive working environment for their employees could be held liable in court.

Here are five steps that employers can take to prevent sexual harassment:

Create a clear and easy-to-understand sexual harassment policy: This policy will define what constitutes sexual harassment in simple terms. It will also state that the behavior will not be tolerated and it lays out the consequences that will happen for those who sexually harass others. It also describes the way that victims can report abuse and how complaints will be investigated.

Create a sexual harassment training plan: Every employee should be trained and reminded about sexual harassment at least once a year. Employers should offer example scenarios of what constitutes this behavior.

Stay on top of what's happening: Talk with employees regularly to make sure they're not being harassed and to give them the opportunity to speak up.

Encourage reporting: Employees should feel safe about coming forward. Employers should encourage employees to speak up and that their complaints will be confidential.

Investigate all complaints: Employers need to take the complaints of their employees seriously. By investigating every complaint thoroughly and taking action to stop the harassment and punish the harassers, employees will gain confidence that you have their back, and harassers will curb their toxic behavior.

Florida employees who are continually subjected to on-the-job sexual harassment do not have to rely on their employers to put the abuse to a stop. Harassed employees can seek legal assistance and pursue claims against their employers to hold them financially liable for damages caused by the abuse.

Source: FindLaw, "Preventing Sexual Harassment," accessed Nov. 10, 2017

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