Workplace sexual harassment is a common and frequently under-reported problem, both throughout the country and in the Mountain State. Facing sexual harassment or enduring a hostile work environment can wear you down and leave you feeling trapped and hopeless. Sound familiar? If so, it's important that you know the truth: You have the right to work in a safe environment that is free from sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful conduct or discrimination.
Most employers are actually legally obligated to provide employees with a safe working environment. This means taking immediate and appropriate corrective action in response to reports of harassment. However, that's not all employers can do to maintain workplace safety. There are a number of clear steps they can take to discourage and prevent sexual harassment and discrimination from happening in the first place.
Dreading every shift due to sexually harassing behavior or a work environment polluted with sex-based discrimination? Here's what you should know about your rights, anti-sexual harassment best practices, and how Bailess Law Firm's dedicated team of employment attorneys can help you fight to hold your employer accountable.
Adopt a Clear Sexual Harassment Policy
Implementing a company-wide sexual harassment policy is key to preventing inappropriate behavior from running rampant in the workplace. The policy should clearly define the various types of sexual harassment for employees and management to increase effectiveness and ensure everyone is on the same page. Information about the policy, including how to file complaints, should be readily available to the workforce.
Make Clear That Sexual Harassment Isn't Tolerated
In addition to having a clear sexual harassment policy, the policy in question should state in no uncertain terms that sex-based harassment or discrimination isn't tolerated, whether it comes from employees, management, or third parties (such as customers or vendors). The policy should also clearly outline disciplinary procedures workers will face if found in violation.
Provide a Clear Procedure for Filing Complaints
No matter how great a company's sexual harassment policy is in theory, it isn't much good in practice if workers don't understand the process for actually filing a complaint—or they're too afraid of possible repercussions to do so. Employees should know exactly how, where, and when to file a sexual harassment or discrimination complaint, including where they should turn if they're facing inappropriate conduct by an immediate supervisor. Business owners and members of management should also make clear to employees that filing a complaint—or participating in an investigation of a complaint—won't negatively affect their employment.
Conduct Periodic Anti-Sexual Harassment Training
Workplace anti-sexual harassment training isn't a one-and-done kind of operation. Conducting regular training sessions for employees, supervisors, and managers is vital. In addition to quid pro quo harassment, in which a promise of reward or threat of punishment hinges on an employee's willingness to submit to sexual conduct, sessions should also cover the kind of harassment that makes for a hostile work environment: inappropriate jokes, comments, messages, videos, or photos. Encouraging a workplace culture where sexually degrading remarks aren't accepted or laughed off is essential to ensuring a safe environment for workers.
Holding Employers Accountable for Workplace Sexual Harassment
If your employer failed to uphold their responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace free from sexual harassment and discrimination, you may be entitled to damages for the losses you've suffered. Depending on the facts and evidence in your case, this may include lost wages, loss of income, emotional distress, and other damages.
After being sexual sexually harassed or putting up with a hostile work environment, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. Fortunately, you don't have to. At Bailess Law Firm, our conscientious and capable legal team understand what you're going through, and we're here to help you each and every step of the way. We will listen to you, believe you, and provide the safe place and legal representation you need to recover the damages you deserve.
Talk to Us About Your Case
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary, no-obligation review of your West Virginia workplace sexual harassment case.