Sexual Harassment 101: What Every Manager Needs to Know


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The intent of this presentation is to inform and educate HR and other members of management on the legal consequences of discrimination and harassment. The presentation focuses on the important role of supervisors and managers in creating and maintaining an environment free of harassment.

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Sexual Harassment 101: What Every Manager Needs to Know

  1. 1. About1. President/Owner, HR Luminary, LLC2. HR Generalist, SPHR Certified3. Over 25 years experience in Human Resources in the private sector4. Member of SHRM, both national and local5. BSBA from Arizona State University 2
  2. 2. Sexual Harassment 101What Every Manager Needs to Know
  3. 3. Intent of Webinar1. Inform/educate HR professionals and management the legal consequences of discrimination and harassment.2. Focus on the important role of supervisors and managers in creating and maintaining an environment that is free from harassment. 4
  4. 4. Learning Objectives1. Know the difference types of sexual harassment and the impact on the workplace.2. Know the key steps to follow to create a respectful workplace.3. Understand your responsibility to take action to minimize the company’s legal risk and protect all employees from harassment.4. Understand the costs associated with harassment and how harassment can adversely affect the workplace.HRCI has approved this program for 1.0 GeneralRecertification Credit towards PHR, SPHR, and GPHR. 5
  5. 5. What is Harassment?• Harassment is unlawful.• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer…to discriminate against any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of race, religion, national origin, color, and sex.• Other types of harassment are unacceptable: – Age – Disability – Veteran Status – Sexual Orientation – Genetic Information – Pregnancy• Or any other characteristic creating an uncomfortable, hostile work environment. 6
  6. 6. Defining Sexual Harassment• Is illegal discriminatory conduct based on the victim’s gender• Defined by EEOC as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.• Sexual Harassment is all about power, not sexual desire.• Occurs when – Submission to inappropriate conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment – Submission to or rejection of inappropriate conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual – Conduct unreasonably interferes with the individual’s performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment 7
  7. 7. Defining Sexual Harassment• Quid pro Quo – “This for That” – When authority figure links job related benefits to sexual favors• Hostile Environment – When an intimidating, hostile or abusive work environment is created and interferes with the individual’s work 8
  8. 8. Hostile Work Environment Harassment• Flirtations, innuendos, vulgar language, sexual jokes, touching.• The key element to hostile work environment sexual harassment is that harassment occurs because of the victim’s sex.• Sexual harassment can be verbal, non-verbal or physical 9
  9. 9. Hostile Work Environment• Sexual Favoritism• Third Party sexual harassment• Sex based harassment 10
  10. 10. Hostile Work Environment• Same sex harassment• Non-employee harassment 11
  11. 11. Can One Incident Constitute?• It is possible, in quid pro quo, if the action is linked to the granting or denial of an employment action.• But not necessarily in a hostile environment, unless there is physical contact or very objectionable conduct. 12
  12. 12. Flirtations in the Workplace• The “victim” may be tolerant at the time, but may actually be upset.• Flirtations may be laughed off by some employees, but may be perceived as sexual harassment by others.• Awareness of such with no management action may be regarded as contributing to a hostile environment. 13
  13. 13. Flirtations in the Workplace• 1998 Supreme Court ruled that having a policy is not enough.• Landmark case Faragher v. City of Boca Raton• Vicarious Liability – when an organization assumes the responsibility for the actions of it’s employees. 14
  14. 14. Your Job: Create the Policy• Be sure that your company has a policy regarding harassment• In addition to having policies, employers must also: – Make sure your employees are made aware of the policy – Make sure the policy is enforced 15
  15. 15. What is Our Role?• Model respectful behavior for employees• Communicate your organization’s policies clearly and consistently to all employees• Enforce the policies consistently• Coach employees to avoid behavior that might lead to harassment complaints• Take all harassment complaints seriously and respond immediately• Do not allow retaliation! 16
  16. 16. The Costs of Harassment For the Victim For the Accused• Lost Productivity • Disciplinary Action• Unscheduled • Family Issues absences • Job Loss• Family Issues • Legal liability• Turnover • Financial liability• Health problems • Embarrassment emotional duress 17
  17. 17. The Costs of HarassmentFor the Company• Large financial liability• Decreased morale• Lost productivity• Tarnished reputation• Disability/worker’s comp costs 18
  18. 18. Financial LiabilityIf the employee wins lawsuit• Back Pay – Lost salary plus incidental benefits• Front Pay – If not able to restore employee to former position• Pain & Suffering – For mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life• Attorney Fees – Employee’s cost of litigation• Punitive Damages – To punish employer; determined by financial resources of the company 19
  19. 19. Responding to a Complaint• Immediate – As soon as you are made aware of sexual harassment, do something about it.• Appropriate – Handle the investigation privately, objectively and be sure to document it. Whatever action taken must be done so in an effective, professional, and confidential manner. 20
  20. 20. Responding to a ComplaintBe sure to ask the following questions:• Who harassed you?• Did you ask him/her to stop?• What did he/she say?• What did he/she do?• When did this happen?• Were there any witnesses?• Has this happened to others?• Has this happened before?• What would you like me to do? 21
  21. 21. Avoiding Lawsuits Regularly review your policy with your employees Discuss “zero tolerance” with employees and outline the consequences per your policy Implement a complaint procedure which ensures confidentiality and provides effective remedies Investigate charges promptly and thoroughly and take immediate action 22
  22. 22. Key Points for Success1. Know the Policy2. Follow the Policy3. Avoid Negative Actions4. Assist any and all who complain5. Always act professionally6. Treat everyone with respect 23
  23. 23. Next Steps1. Download this Event at HRLuminary.com2. View Upcoming Events • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) • Fair Labor Standards Act • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act3. Check back soon for a recording of this event 24
  24. 24. Vicki WorthHR