4 Harassment Related Policies You Should Add In Your Employee Handbook

While it’s vital to speak and openly discuss how to facilitate an open and respectful work culture, it’s also a good idea to formally write these policies down in the company handbook. Written policies not only help the employees understand and comply with the company’s expectations but keeps the entire company aligned on policies. 

It’s time harassment policies make their way to our employee handbooks as well. These policies make it easier for management to prevent sexual harassment and deal with the complaints according to a criterion if they come. It also limits the company’s legal liability in the event of a lawsuit. HR can use employee handbook templates to make compelling employee handbooks that are easier and more convenient to use

If you are wondering which harassment policies you should include in your handbook, we have got you covered:

1. Code of Conduct

Any questions related to workplace ethics and compliance are satisfied by a company’s code of conduct. It sets the tone for the company’s culture and defines how the employees are supposed to behave and treat others at work. Here are the main components of the code of conduct: 

  • Dress code 
  • Grooming standards
  • Workplace safety
  • Attendance requirements

These rules define what is acceptable workplace behavior and what comes under misconduct. The code of conduct highlights the company’s mission, values, and culture. It helps build a better image of the company with the public and portray them as a responsible and safe space for employees and attracts top talent

2. Code of Ethics: 

The code of ethics defines what comes under harassment, for example

  • Bullying
  • Direct insults
  • Malicious gossip
  • Victimization
  • Sabotaging someone’s work 
  • Racism 
  • Sexual comments and physical misconduct

Sexual harassment is something that needs to be addressed more carefully as it is illegal and needs serious investigation so that the appropriate steps can be taken against the employee who is found guilty. The code of ethics helps prevent harassment because when the employees are aware that what the company considers unethical, they try to avoid such behavior to avoid risking any legal consequences or job termination. This sets the basis for avoiding harassment and workplace safety, as well as helps improve employee productivity.

3. Harassment Complaint Policy: 

An anti-harassment cell is usually present in all companies to tackle such situations, but in case it’s not, there should be clear guidelines included in the employee handbook regarding who is the designated person for registering complaints. The policy should state the procedure for investigating such complaints as well, for example, recording the dates of the incident, ascertaining views of the victim, providing a legal framework, etc. This policy also includes the measures that will be taken against anyone found doing misconduct, in the form of termination or other legal measures. 

4. Victim Support Policy: 

Acknowledging harassment is important, but providing proper support to victims and compensating them is important as well. Employees prefer working in companies that provide clear-cut information on how the company provides support to their employees in case of harassment. Some forms of support include mental health support, counseling, compensation in the form of money, legal support, etc. This shines a light on the organization’s corporate social responsibility and how seriously they take the betterment of their employees. 

Besides complying with federal laws, companies need to be aware of state laws. Currently, many states require companies by law to provide regular sexual harassment prevention trainings to managers and employees. One other example includes New York State Human Rights Law no longer requires discriminatory or harassing conduct to be severe or extreme to be illegal. These kinds of changes require major changes in policies and procedures. We hope this article helps your organization become more secure for your employees.