Harassment lawsuits – especially sexual harassment cases – continue to be big business for lawyers. Most of the cases and advices are, directed at large companies but even small companies need to take proactive, preventive measures to reduce the liability. Even if you only employ one employee, you must take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment in the workplace.
Preventive measures should also include anti harassment training for employees. In California, the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training for Supervisors is mandatory for all businesses with 50 employees or more. You may hear this referred to as AB1825 training.
Every two years, the supervisor must attend two hours of training that is complied with these rules. Regardless of the law, however, all employers may wish to provide training to their supervisors and even to all their employees. Best practices dictate that you will note the presence of training and repeat the exercise on a regular basis to ensure compliance.
As a business owner, you need to evaluate your own actions and verify that you do not create a hostile work by your own actions. You also need to evaluate the work and verify that the environment does not cause or promote harassment.
When you are thinking about your business, be especially aware of the employee who passes off comments, jokes, etc., because “that’s just so-and-so.” Those types of behaviors should be addressed as harassment prior to a lawsuit by a disgruntled employee.