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Improving workplace sexual harassment policies

More and more businesses throughout Texas are understanding the need for sexual harassment awareness in the workplace. Whether triggered by the sordid stories of countless women who have recently begun to share their experiences or perhaps by fear of legal action, employers are now understanding the benefits of having a comprehensive workplace discrimination policy. However, there remains a formidable gap between that realization and implementing a plan that's effective.

An essential first step is to have a clearly defined individual or department assigned to the role of establishing and implementing policy. All too often in the past, HR departments had insufficient training in how to recognize some of the more subtler forms of sexual harassment and little incentive or power to enforce. If an existing human resources department lacks the trust of employees, it may be necessary to create an entirely separate entity for sexual harassment claims.

Comprehensive training for all employees is an important additional step to be taken in conjunction with creating a clear company policy. One of the most significant areas of concern remains the failure to report incidents of sexual harassment. This is true not only for the victims but also for others who have observed the questionable behavior. Co-workers have a tendency not to want to be involved, and even managers may simply look the other way. Reporting must be encouraged, and those who do report should feel safe in doing so.

Issues of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination are not always clear. An employment lawyer can assist in explaining the rights and responsibilities of all parties.

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