managing sexual harassment at work

Handling Sexual Harassment At Work: 8 Rules For Managers

who this class is for

Human resources (HR) managers, managers and employers

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About this micro-class

Handling sexual harassment in the workplace is a crucial responsibility for HR professionals to foster a safe and inclusive environment for all employees.

Best Practices for Handling Sexual Harassment at Work

1. Establish Clear Policies

Ensure there are comprehensive anti-sexual harassment policies in place.

Communicate these policies clearly to all employees and provide training on what constitutes harassment.

2. Create a Safe Reporting Environment

Encourage open communication and assure employees that their concerns will be taken seriously and handled confidentially.

Establish multiple reporting channels, and make it clear that retaliation is strictly prohibited.

3. Provide Training

Conduct regular training sessions for all employees to educate them about what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report it, and the consequences of engaging in such behavior.

4. Prompt Investigation

Act promptly when a complaint is filed.

Conduct thorough and impartial investigations to gather all relevant information.

Involve a neutral third party if necessary.

5. Documentation

Maintain detailed records of all complaints, investigations, and actions taken. This documentation is crucial for legal purposes and can help demonstrate the organization’s commitment to addressing harassment.

6. Support the Victim

Offer support to the victim during and after the investigation process. Ensure they feel safe and are aware of available resources, such as counseling services.

7. Take Appropriate Action

If the complaint is substantiated, take appropriate disciplinary action against the perpetrator. This may range from counseling and training to suspension or termination, depending on the severity of the offense.

8. Continuous Improvement

Regularly review and update policies and procedures to adapt to changes in laws, regulations, and best practices. Seek feedback from employees to identify areas for improvement.

Mistakes to Avoid in Handling Sexual Harassment at Work

Ignoring Complaints

Failing to take complaints seriously or dismissing them without proper investigation can create a hostile work environment and may lead to legal consequences.

Lack of Training

Neglecting to provide adequate training on sexual harassment prevention can contribute to a culture where inappropriate behavior is tolerated.

Incomplete Investigations

Conducting rushed or biased investigations can result in incomplete information and may compromise the integrity of the process. Ensure investigations are thorough and impartial.

Failure to Communicate

Lack of communication regarding the resolution of a complaint can create uncertainty and erode trust among employees. Keep affected parties informed about the outcome and any actions taken.


Failing to protect victims from retaliation can discourage reporting. Make it clear that retaliation is strictly prohibited, and take immediate action if it occurs.

Inconsistent Enforcement

Applying disciplinary actions inconsistently can undermine the credibility of the organization’s commitment to combating sexual harassment. Treat all employees fairly and equally.

Poor Record-Keeping

Inadequate documentation of complaints, investigations, and actions taken can hinder the organization’s ability to defend itself in legal situations.

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