Employers and employees understand the need to have a common set of rules at work. In fact, in some states organizations are required to draft, publish, distribute and follow a specific sexual harassment prevention policy.
And even in states that don’t have a legal mandate, most employers understand that having a written policy is a key element in their quest to recognize, prevent and fix issues related to harassment.
So if everyone is on the same page about the advantages of having a policy, why is it that policies have done little to move the needle? Indeed, surveys have shown that the vast majority of companies already have a policy in place, but their mere existence has done little to positively affect workplace behavior.
The key to an effective sexual harassment prevention policy is twofold:
First, the policy must actually contain understandable language about:
- Prohibited (and acceptable) workplace conduct
- Instructions on how to submit a complaint if an employee encounters misconduct at work and
- Details about how the organization will investigate and resolve claims of misconduct.
Second, the policy must go beyond these mere legalities and send out a strong and clear message that the organization is fully committed to not only stopping unlawful sexual harassment, but is equally committed to stopping behavior that might fall short of illegal conduct but nevertheless needs to be addressed early so that it doesn’t escalate.
Emtrain’s model policy was drafted in collaboration with experts in employment law and will help organizations meet the first objective. In terms of meeting the second objective—to create policies and practices, and therefore an overall culture that fosters respect and inclusion. Emtrain’s website is filled with resources that will make sending this message out to employees easy and effective.
Sexual harassment prevention experts Janine Yancey, Patti Perez, Phyllis Cheng, and Ute Krudewagen collaborated to draft this sexual harassment policy template.
Meet the experts:
- Phyllis Cheng was previously the Executive Director of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
- Patti Perez was previously a Commissioner on California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council, co-authored the AB 1825 sexual harassment training regulations and was a shareholder at Ogletree Deakins prior to joining Emtrain as its VP of Workplace Strategy. She is also the author of The Drama-Free Workplace where she offers additional advice on writing effective harassment prevention policies.
- Janine Yancey is certified as an expert witness in sexual harassment training and investigations by state and federal courts and gave expert testimony in July 2018 regarding the appropriate language and provisions for SB 1343.
- Ute Krudewagen is an international employment law expert and a partner at DLA Piper and focuses on providing multinational companies with solutions to the challenges presented in managing a global workforce.