Now is not the time for outdated procedures.
By Jonathan A. Segal
Good policies drive good cul- tures. Here are some recom- mendations to consider as you
revisit your organization’s anti-harassment policy.
DON’T LIMIT IT TO SEXUAL
Of course, you must cover sexual
harassment, but don’t forget
that other kinds of harassment are equally unlawful
and must be addressed in
your policy, too.
Simply stated, harassment based on any protected status, including race,
ethnicity and religion, is
Imagine the question
you’ll be asked at a deposition if your policy addresses
sexual harassment but not
the racial form: “Why do
you think sexual harassment is worse than racial
harassment?” There’s no
AVOID LEGAL DEFINITIONS
All of us have seen poli-
cies that quote regulations
published by the Equal
ty Commission (EEOC).
They’re technically accurate
but not particularly useful
or relatable to employees.
The legal defnition is
fne for lawyers, but you’ll
want to use clear language
to give more context and
explanation in your policy, including
real-life examples of unacceptable
conduct. Pick scenarios that will res-
onate with your workforce based on
your organization’s culture.
Sometimes it’s a struggle to fgure
out how much detail to provide,
especially when describing lewd
behavior. I get it. You don’t want to
use words or phrases that make em-
ployees uncomfortable with a policy
that was designed to create a safe
working environment for everyone.
Why not make this concern
explicit in the policy? State that
your intent is not to make anyone
feel awkward or embarrassed but
instead to make clear what is unac-