Harassment Law for Employers
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As an employer you are generally liable for the conduct of your employees whilst at work. This can also include the actions at work social events including, for example, the Christmas party. You cannot, of course, control your employees’ every action but you can put yourself in a favourable position to protect yourself from any claims of harassment (be it sexual, racial or any other form of harassment).
It is a defence in law if you can show that you have taken ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent harassment. With that in mind you should:
- Implement clear policies dealing with harassment, dignity at work, equal opportunities and disciplinary matters
- Make sure that all of your employees are aware of these policies and have access to them (through the intranet or in a staff handbook)
- Ensure those with managerial responsibilities receive appropriate training
- Adopt a zero tolerance approach to objectionable language and behaviour and, if necessary discipline employees who fall short of these standards.