The dam has likely broken on sexual harassment claims. While the allegations currently focus on celebrities, politicians and other public figures, we can expect it to broaden to encompass virtually anyone in an organization. Victims now have a plethora of ways to address wrongdoings: social media with the #MeToo hashtag, traditional media and, of course, the legal system.
The risks to organizations are reputation, loss of focus and reduced productivity levels in the face of the negative publicity, legal costs, and legal awards or settlements. The current climate may very well have set the stage for some very large jury awards as juries decide to punish those who they feel failed to take the steps that should have been taken. Make sure your company and clients don’t fall into this category.
If your clients or company have not already implemented solid risk management practices in the employment practices arena, do so immediately! Make certain you have strong anti-harassment policies in place that are fully supported from the top down through the organization, train everyone in the company on the dos and don’ts of all forms of harassment, establish a clear line of communication for employees to report harassment and make certain that all complaints are promptly and competently investigated. Lastly, if you haven’t historically purchased employment practices liability insurance, revisit that decision, as well.
What do you think? Will the current deluge of harassment claims become a flood? Has corporate America done what it should to mitigate and manage the risks? Are companies large and small buying adequate insurance to fund the claims they cannot avoid? Share your insights and recommendations with other readers in the IRMI Group on LinkedIn.
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