Author: Lisa Pierson Weinberger, Mom, Esq.
When to Use
Federal, state and local laws prohibit unwelcome conduct in the workplace that is based upon, or motivated by, an employee's membership in a protected class. Although sexual harassment claims are most well-known, an employer can also be liable for harassment based on race, religion, national origin, disability, age and other protected characteristics. As a result, employers have an obligation to ensure that employees have a working environment that is free from harassment of all types.
Every employer should have a Harassment Policy that is provided and communicated to all employees. Such a policy, if enforced, will help to prevent harassment, will aid in the defense of any lawsuits or administrative charges based upon harassing conduct, and will be useful as evidence in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding.
A Harassment Policy should be communicated to employees at the commencement of employment. Employers should make sure that employees sign and acknowledge that they have received and understand the policy and consent to its terms. The policy should be referred to whenever a claim of harassment arises.