Sexual harassment has long been an infamous problem in workplaces. In past decades it may have been overlooked or taken as a given, but today, inappropriate workplace behavior is on everyone’s minds. Thankfully, that awareness means that workplace environments and company cultures have improved vastly overall.
Still, you always run the risk that one employee, either through ignorance or aggression, behaves in a way that makes others justifiably uncomfortable; there’s even a chance that someone on your staff may outright assault someone physically or verbally. Not only is sexual harassment a potent poison in your workplace culture, it also leaves you vulnerable to lawsuits, and financial or even criminal consequences.
Partnering with a PEO can help. For one thing, PEOs offer human resources expertise to companies that may otherwise not have adequate HR input. Making HR policies a company priority reassures employees and clients alike that you’re serious about nurturing a safe environment. HR services also provide invaluable education with regards to appropriate behavior, so that everyone understands how and why their actions affect those around them, and can generate a strong sense of professional conduct with the right boundaries.
But that’s not all. By partnering with a PEO that carries Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), your company is protected against lawsuits filed by current or former employees with claims of sexual harassment as well as discrimination, wrongful termination, benefit mismanagement, or any number of other workplace accusations. These sorts of claims, whether justified or not, can occupy a tricky, nuanced legal ground that may leave your company vulnerable to punitive financial rulings. EPLI covers costs regardless of the outcome of a suit.
A PEO's HR Expertise
Once again the PEO’s HR expertise allows it to contract for the appropriate EPLI policy that suits your company and its circumstances, ensuring that your company is appropriately and sufficiently covered.
Education accounts for the health of your company culture, but EPLI, like any insurance, is there if you need it. A responsible PEO provides both.
Important Information Regarding Workplace Sexual Harassment
- Gender is immaterial. The harasser or the victim may be any gender.
- The harasser may be anyone on staff or even a non-employee. However, harassment by people in positions of authority is particularly insidious, as the victims may feel they have no recourse against a superior, and/or that they are obligated to cater to the superior’s behavior.
- Victims aren’t limited to the people who are targeted by the harassment. A victim is anyone affected by the negative behavior.