A Note on Sexual-Harassment Policy

2 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by R. Edward Freeman

R. Edward Freeman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Andrew Wicks

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Numerous reasons exist for businesses to have a comprehensive and well-monitored sexual-harassment policy. The first, and most self-interested, reason is that creating a strong program will significantly reduce the potential for and extent of liability for incidents of sexual harassment. Second, such a policy is likely to lead to a decrease in harassment, which will save a company considerable time, money, and effort and reduce the likelihood that the company's image/credibility will be damaged if incidents do occur. Third, as parties interested in creating a positive working environment, employers have reason to actively support such a policy. Finally, as moral agents, companies should support these efforts as part of their concern about the integrity of their companies and the well–being of their employees.

Excerpt

UVA-E-0080

A NOTE ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY

Why Have a Policy

Numerous reasons exist for businesses to have a comprehensive and well-monitored sexual–harassment policy. The first, and most self-interested, reason is that creating a strong program will significantly reduce the potential for and extent of liability for incidents of sexual harassment. Second, such a policy is likely to lead to a decrease in harassment, which will save a company considerable time, money, and effort (recall the figures from “A Note on Sexual Harassment” on the cost incurred by the federal government due to harassment incidents) and reduce the likelihood that the company's image/credibility will be damaged if incidents do occur. Third, as parties interested in creating a positive working environment, employers have reason to actively support such a policy. Finally, as moral agents, companies should support these efforts as part of their concern about the integrity of their companies and the well-being of their employees.

How to Construct a Policy

A number of steps are needed to create a good and effective sexual-harassment policy. First, an employer should make sure they have a formal, written policy clearly stating they will not tolerate sexual harassment. Specifically, this policy should detail such conduct and include stiff penalties for violating it. Second, the company should take time to educate all employees about the policy and about sexual harassment in general. As statistics cited in “A Note on Sexual Harassment” indicate, a good deal of misunderstanding exists about what constitutes a hostile work environment, and education would go a long way in clarifying some of the uncertainties and ignorance surrounding the subject. Education might include discussion of particular situations/cases that bring to light the concept of a hostile environment and the general differences between men and women in perceiving what constitutes such an environment.

. . .

Keywords: business society ethics career management employee attitudes personnel

Suggested Citation

Freeman, R. Edward and Wicks, Andrew, A Note on Sexual-Harassment Policy. Darden Case No. UVA-E-0080. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2974112

R. Edward Freeman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
804-924-0935 (Phone)
804-924-6378 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/freeman.htm

Andrew Wicks

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/wicks.htm

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