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Rosen Marsili Rapp LLP

Can sexual harassment at work be prevented?

The workplace should be a professional environment that is free from discrimination and inappropriate behavior. While every individual is responsible for their own actions, companies and their managers have the responsibility to set boundaries and expectations regarding what is acceptable. They should also have clear procedures for reporting unacceptable behavior in the workplace such as sexual harassment.

If you feel uncomfortable with an experience you have had at work and believe that your employer has not dealt with the issue in an acceptable manner, it is a good idea to understand how a business should respond to a report of sexual harassment. If your employer did not deal with the issue appropriately, you may be able to take legal action.

How an employer can prevent sexual harassment

Employee induction processes and good hiring standards can help prevent instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. Often, workplace inductions set out concepts such as unconscious bias and what counts as appropriate interactions with colleagues. Prospective employees should also be screened through appropriate tests to see how they would work within the company culture. While these standards can go a long way toward preventing instances of sexual harassment, it is unlikely that they will be sufficient to completely prevent issues.

How an employer should deal with a report of sexual harassment

Employers should take reports of sexual harassment very seriously. They should have a clear process in place to deal with these reports. It would be unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for a report that they made.

It is important to take further action if you believe that your report of sexual harassment was not taken seriously.

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