Naperville Business Lawyer on Navigating Sexual Harassment Concerns as a Small Business Owner

sexual harassment, Naperville small business attorneyIn fall of 2017, media tycoon Harvey Weinstein was accused of horrific abuses of his power and wealth in the form of sexual harassment and rape. The news made international headlines and sparked outrage from actors, celebrities, and the public in general. Individuals all over the world began sharing their own stories of sexual harassment or sexual violence using the signifier #MeToo on social media. Time Magazine chose “the silence breakers” as its famous “person of the year” giving tribute to men and women who stood up against sexual harassment and sexual assault. Now, it is more important than ever for business owners to have a strong sexual harassment prevention policy and procedures for rectifying instances of sexual harassment.

Small Businesses May Be Especially Susceptible to Sexual Harassment

In businesses with fewer than 50 people, the work environment can be quite different from that of a large corporation. Employees often engage with each other more often and spend more time in close proximity. This increases the chances of inappropriate interactions to occur and can also make the impact of any harassment that does occur seem disproportionately large. For example, if two out of only 15 or 20 employees cannot work together, this is especially disruptive to the everyday functioning of the business. Furthermore, the legal costs and punitive consequences of sexual harassment cases can be devastating to a small business with limited money and resources.

When a Business Does Not Have a Human Resources Department, Business Owners Must Step Up

Many small businesses may not have a formal HR department simply because there is not enough work to justify the expense of a full-time human resources employee. In these situations, business owners are forced to take on much more responsibility for preventing sexual harassment and dealing with it if it does end up happening. Business owners must keep up with current laws regarding sexual harassment and be aware of changing laws at all times. They must also create and implement policies and rules about what workplace behavior is acceptable and what is not. Business owners must also make sure employees understand how and when to report sexual harassment. Furthermore, they must ensure that employees feel safe discussing concerns and do not fear retaliation for making a complaint against another employee.

Employment Law from a Top Business Attorney

The experienced Naperville business law attorneys at the Gierach Law Firm can help you implement sexual harassment prevention policies that keep your business compliant with the law as well as help you deal with allegations of inappropriate behavior. Call (630) 756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

Harvard Business Review

Time