Retail Executive

Susan Wilson authored an article published by The Retail Solutions Network on May 21, 2018, discussing how to prevent and investigate sexual harassment in the workplace amid the ongoing #MeToo movement. The story, which was also included in Retail Supply Chain Insights, Retail Operations Insights, Loss Prevent Insights and Retail IT Insights, addresses the importance of having a clear company policy that explicitly defines sexual harassment is key to preventing it in the workplace. These policies should also outline ways for employees to report complaints and prohibit retaliation against people who make a complaint or provide information to investigate one. The policy should be well communicated, including employee training on its requirements.

All complaints should be taken seriously and investigated in tune with the company’s sexual harassment policy by well-trained, detail-oriented and impartial investigators. The most challenging aspect of the process is deciding whether the alleged sexual harassment actually occurred. “You don’t necessarily have to conclude that nothing bad happened just because there are no witnesses, but you also aren’t required to accepted unsubstantiated allegations,” noted Wilson.

Next is deciding what swift and sensibly calculated corrective action to take against the accused if the harassment occurred. “What is appropriate depends on a number of factors, including the severity and duration of the conduct and what actions the company took in similar situations,” explained Wilson. “Remember, consistency is invaluable.” However, employers should ensure that there is no further misconduct or retaliation because the company can still be liable even if the investigation was flawless and the claim was baseless.

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