Workplace harassment takes on many forms making it difficult to tell the difference between normal office banter and offensive or unlawful behavior. Companies need to be aware that employees have different backgrounds, senses of humor, sensitivities, and disabilities. Good humor to one person may be perceived as offensive to another.
Business owners have the primary responsibility to set the tone for their organization and to make sure the managers and employees understand that their company prohibits harassment and will take action to stop it. Employers can take steps to encourage and promote a harassment free environment by doing the following:
Have a written policy in an employee handbook prohibiting harassment
Have a commitment to communicating and following the policy
Take employee complaints seriously, and do not retaliate against an employee who brings a complaint
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