How to Prevent a Hostile Work Environment

November 19, 2019 Blog

Helpful Suggestions from the Business Insurance Center Team

As children, we may have heard, or even used the rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The main point being that words do not leave lasting scars like broken bones. In today’s workplace, this is not necessarily the case. For many employees, offensive jokes, slurs, or name-calling is an everyday occurrence in a hostile work environment. While employers are much more aware of the need to prevent such an atmosphere, it can still happen. How you respond is critical to maintaining a healthy workplace ambience.

Protect your company from claims of harassment by setting high expectations for your staff and managers. For those times when a lawsuit is filed, it helps to have the appropriate coverage in the form of employment practices liability insurance. The experienced brokers at The Business Insurance Center work with you to get you the best policies that fit your needs at reasonable rates.

5 Suggestions to Prevent a Hostile Work Environment

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “harassment is a form of employment discrimination” that can become unlawful when the work environment becomes intimidating, hostile, or abusive. There are several things you can do to stem potential threats to your staff and their productivity because of someone else’s poor choice of behavior. They include:

  1. Create an Anti-Harassment Policy : Establish a policy that firmly prohibits harassment of any kind, especially sexual and against other protected classes. Providing examples of prohibited conduct should be included. It’s a good idea to outline that all employees fall under this policy, including managers, supervisors, employees, customers, and third parties.
  2. Develop a Complaint Procedure : Your employees need a safe way to file their complaints. This should give them different avenues so that they do not have to report the harassment to the supervisor that may be involved. Retaliation is often a fear of employees; therefore, it’s a good idea to have strong anti-retaliation language in your policy.
  3. Distribute and Communicate the Policy to Everyone : Every team member should receive a copy of the policy and be allowed to ask questions. It is recommended that you have each person sign a verification that acknowledges they have read and understood the policy.
  4. Conduct On-going Education : Putting the anti-harassment policy in writing is only the beginning. Periodic refreshers and continual training goes a long way to lessen the chances of a hostile work environment cropping up.
  5. Make Good on Your Word : When complaints arise, as they sometimes will, be sure to investigate promptly and take appropriate action to eliminate any harassment. Not only will you mitigate a potential threat to your work culture, but your employees will trust you, which can result in greater loyalty.

Harassment-Free Zone—Protect Your Business with EPLI from the Business Insurance Center

Ensure that your employees can focus on their work in a harassment-free environment when you take proactive steps. For those instances where a claim is filed, be sure to have the right amount of employment practices liability insurance. The experienced brokers at the Business Insurance Center can assess your needs, find any gaps in your existing coverage, and tailor a plan to get you covered. Talk to us today.

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