The #MeToo movement has increased the spotlight on companies and how they deal with sexual harassment complaints. With increased reporting being at an all time high, the HR department must do their due diligence to create a positive workplace culture and avoid litigation.
Having employment practices liability insurance helps protect the organization, but before it comes down to the level of insurance claims, businesses can modernize their HR policies for the current climate.
Move to Higher Levels of Investigation
In order to remain fully transparent, the HR function should consider outsourcing their harassment investigations. The team should work in conjunction with the investigators to be able to provide objective input throughout the process. There should be specific guidelines and training protocols in place to ensure all claims are fairly and adequately assessed.
Know the Laws
HR professionals should be aware of any changes on a local, state or local level. There are a number of resources to help this take place, such as professional associations, online resources and legal counsel.
Expand Reporting Avenues
In today’s climate, collusion may be a huge factor as to why an employee does not feel comfortable in reporting harassment. The HR department should have vehicles in place to allow anonymity between the employee and HR department. This can be done using an employee intranet or hotline.
Implement Stringent Policies
Outstanding policies, handbooks and training programs must be revamped to include anti-retaliation and harassment policies to engage employees and reinforce the company’s commitment to doing the right thing in protecting their employees, setting the standard, and creating a culture where they feel safe.
Every employee should be trained or retrained on all policies and procedures. They should know the steps to take if they are in a compromising situation or have witnessed a situation that should be reported. Training should be on a rolling basis to ensure all employees are included.
Moving forward, companies must be proactive in the way harassment claims are handled, with a plan for immediate response and action. This begins with reviewing old policies and standards, and ongoing audits to ensure no allegations are deemed complicit in nature after it has been reported.
Now more than ever, a strong support system in HR and insurance is needed. We offer extensive HR resources and business insurance options to protect your best interests and keep liability low. Our team can help determine the types of protection you need to maintain the highest standards within your organization.
For more information on obtaining an employment practices liability insurance policy, or finding out how to start making changes, contact an agent at Arroyo Insurance Services today.
About Arroyo Insurance Services
Arroyo Insurance Services was officially established in 1986, but we have roots dating back to before 1950. One of California’s leading client-oriented and independently owned agencies, we have over 140 employees with a combined experience of over 450 years, spread across 11 locations. We are committed to providing the best insurance and risk management services at the most competitive premiums, and backing it with hands-on service tailored to our customers’ needs. For more information on how we can mitigate your risks, contact us today.