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Protocol for handling sexual harassment must be established

All employers should have established protocol for reports regarding harassment or discrimination. While many of these cases can simply be reported to a designated person, this isn't the case for sexual harassment.

A worker who is sexually harassed should be able to go to whichever supervisor or administrator he or she feels comfortable talking to. Some sexual harassment situations are intimate and the worker might not feel comfortable speaking to just anyone. It is a good idea to have men and women who can take these complaints.

One of the priorities that has to occur when a company is handling sexual harassment is that the alleged harasser and the victim will need to be kept away from each other while the investigation is pending. This isn't always easy but it is fully necessary. It might be difficult to separate the two people, especially if they can't work on different shifts or in different locations. Still, something has to be done.

Companies can't make it seem like the victim is placing a burden on the company. Retaliation for factual complaints is forbidden in cases like these. The company also can't punish the alleged harasser until it is proven that the sexual harassment did occur.

Once the claim is made, it must be investigated. During this process, the investigators have to check with the witnesses and review other evidence. Taking a harsh stance against sexual harassment might mean that the company has to terminate the harasser if the complaint is found factual.

There are cases in which employers don't take action on sexual harassment complaints. In these instances, the victim might opt to pursue further action.

Source: Entrepreneur, "How to Finally Stop Sexual Harassment at Work," Jessica Higgins, accessed April 27, 2018

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