Since last October (2017), dozens of high-profile workplace sexual harassment cases have raised the awareness of how widespread the problem is. A recent Insureon survey of 1,600 small business owners registered in Manta, the online business directory, revealed the need for more training to reduce the occurence of harrassment. Here are some of the findings of the research.
The need for training is widespread
53% | Percentage of companies providing some type of sexual harassment training or education
43% | Companies that provide employee training during an employees onboarding process
32% | Hold regular sexual harassment training for staff
27% | Outline sexual harassment policies in an employee handbook, but offer no formal training.
27% | Provide some other form of training
1% | Require employees to complete online training
79% | Percentage of respondents who have business insurance
83% | Of those who have business insurance, the percentage who have Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), the type of insurance that, among other things, addresses sexual harassment lawsuits
The financial cost of sexual harassment in the workplace
In addition to the victimization of the employee, harrassment cases can destroy a small business – even if they are settled out of court. If a jury believes a business owner was aware sexual harassment occurred but failed to take appropriate action, it could award punitive damages to the victim.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) can reduce the financial risk associated with sexual harassment legal cases. For instance, a policy can cover lawsuit expenses related to claims of harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. But a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment is much better protection for your company–and is clearly the correct thing to do.
$160,000 | The average EPLI lawsuit settlement
Steps to protect employees while also managing business risks
- From day one, communicate the company’s commitment to a hostility-free environment
- Codify your commitment with a statement that sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated
- Provide a written policy that includes
- An overview of what constitutes sexual harassment.
- The steps employees should take if they need to file a complaint.
- Reassurances that anyone reporting harassment will not face retaliation.
- An overview of the investigative procedure for complaints, including the disciplinary actions perpetrators might face.
- Review this policy with all employees regularly.
Note: Business legal decisions should be discussed with your trusted legal advisors.