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Ignorance Is Not Bliss: It’s Time To Enact A Meaningful Sexual Harassment Policy

Posted By Kristi Feist, Payday HCM, Thursday, March 8, 2018


Each day more and more women come forward to share their stories of abuse within the workplace. People are listening.

As women become more emboldened to speak up and as the public becomes more receptive to listening, employers have more to worry about than just the legal repercussions. In the year 2018, merely an accusation could end a career, or even bring down a business. Thus, it is more important now than ever for employers to implement workplace procedures for preventing harassment and properly handling accusations.

Addressing sexual harassment requires first understanding what it looks like. It might surprise you to know that harassment is likely much broader than you think. In general there are two types of sexual harassment—quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Sexual harassment falls under the category of sex discrimination, which is impermissible under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To be actionable under Title VII, the conduct must be “sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.” Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 67 (1986). A worker need not suffer an adverse economic effect to meet this standard. Rather, the focus is on the unwelcome nature of the behavior.

Thus, even conduct that appears to be tolerated by a subordinate or coworker may constitute sexual harassment if the advances are unwelcome. Considering that the courts struggle with the concept of unwelcome versus welcome conduct, employers and their supervisors should hesitate to assume that seemingly innocent behavior is ok with a female (or even a male) colleague.

When employers receive a complaint of sexual harassment, they must act. In the current climate, the public will not accept a company’s claim of ignorance. Sticking your head in the sand is no longer a viable option when a woman comes to you to say “me too.”



Payday HCM offers comprehensive on-site HR Consulting Services to help you navigate sexual harassment claims, and proactively create policy to manage your work environments. Our experts can provide you with a complete suite of services, including:

  • Handbook and policy formulation
  • EEOC Manager Training
  • Harassment and discrimination investigations
  • Risk mitigation
  • Interactive trainings on the responsibilities and requirements or managers
  • Interactive trainings on the responsibilities and rights of employees


Payday HCM is available on-call and at your location to advise management and employees on subjects such as disciplinary actions, terminations, unemployment claims, performance improvement, federal and state audits, FLSA, FMLA, ADA, ADEA, EEO, Workers’ Compensation, and other applicable regulations and laws. We work with our clients to resolve any employee related issues and maintain compliance with employee related documents:

Contact our HR Consulting Team today at


Tags:  Business  HR  Human Resources  Policy  Small Business 

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