New trends reshape harassment prevention landscape, increase employer risks

Posted by Charles Middleton on 02/15/2019

State law makers are passing laws intended to prevent workplace harassment; what are key takeaways?

The new laws deter confidential settlements, mandate training, alter rules for litigating harassment claims and ban employment agreements that require claimants to arbitrate their claims.

Is Oklahoma going to implement something similar?

Although Oklahoma hasn’t passed these laws yet, employers should be aware of the trends that are reshaping the harassment prevention landscape and creating more risk of liability.

What can organizations do to be vigilant?

Considering the growing number of harassment claims being filed and the measures being implemented to encourage or require employers to take action to prevent harassment, employers should resolve to re-evaluate their harassment prevention efforts in 2019. Employers should consider the following:

• Update your harassment prevention policies and procedures to include best practices being required by states such as California.

• Provide live harassment prevention training for all managers, supervisors, and non-managerial employees annually.

• Take all complaints of potential harassment seriously and respond promptly.

• Show no tolerance for any harassing behavior.

• Take effective corrective action when responding to complaints of harassing behavior.

• Ensure leaders at the highest level take an active, visible lead in promoting and encouraging harassment prevention efforts.

Paula Burkes, Business writer

Published The Oklahoman, February 15, 2019