Did you know? Companies of any size are liable for any supervisor who harasses an employee, or who does not make efforts to stop harassment of an employee by anyone else in the workplace. A supervisor is anyone who has the authority to hire and fire — so if your company is small, that might be you, the owner.

Harassment is a type of discrimination based on a protected class — which includes sex as well as MANY other categories of identity. The two most common types of sexual harassment are (1) quid pro quo — an exchange of work favors for sexual behavior, and (2) a hostile work environment — where an employee feels uncomfortable and this interferes with their work. The definition of harassment is subjective, meaning that your employees’ internal thoughts matter more than their outer perceived reaction.

Bottom line: if one of your employees comes to you with a concern about harassment, you must take it seriously and you cannot retaliate, meaning you cannot do anything that could be perceived as punishing the person for coming forward. You should do what you can to stop the harassment and if necessary, get professional Human Resources support for conducting an investigation.

SFMade’s recommendation is that you send your supervisors to a training on sexual harassment and harassment prevention. If you have 50+ employees this is already required by law every 2 years. If you have questions, please contact Claire, SFMade’s Director of Workforce and Hiring, at [email protected].