Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Implementing Effective Sexual Harassment Policies in the Workplace

In the wake of sexual harassment claims made against Fox News chief Roger Ailes, it is important for businesses of all sizes to understand the importance of developing and implementing a sexual harassment policy that protects both employees and employers in the workplace.

However, ending workplace sexual harassment is more than a simple piece of paper on a wall or in an employment handbook; it’s a statement of shared beliefs that seek to allow anyone to pursue their chosen careers without feeling the threat and pressure of workplace sexual harassment. Implementing effective sexual harassment policies begins with this attitude, and it begins at the top. Consider the following processes and guidelines when creating your company’s sexual harassment policy and procedures.

1. Employer responsibilities. The responsibility of keeping sexual harassment out of the workplace falls on the employer, and because of this, executives and leadership should be involved in drafting the policies. Partnering with human resources, they should be at the lead in creating harassment policies, sending regular reminders of expectations, and making sure the policies are upheld. By law, employers are required to have a system in place to prevent and deal with harassment, and can be held liable for harassment that occurs in their workplace regardless of whether they were aware of it.

“Employees should feel that they are protected simply from reading the sexual harassment policy.”

2. Employee responsibilities. Implementing the policies, while beginning at the top, must be a shared commitment throughout the company. Making sure all employees know and are aware of the company’s policies is imperative to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. All new hires should receive a copy of the company’s policy, acknowledge it in writing, and complete training. Employees should feel encouraged to be aware of behavior that could affect their work environment negatively, and know when to take action.

3. Policy guidelines. Employees should feel that they are protected simply from reading the sexual harassment policy. They should also be protected against retaliation and feel comfortable reporting concerns. Procedures on these matters must be outlined in the policy so that employees are aware of their rights. Additionally, a company’s sexual harassment policy should be a fluid document. As time goes on and unique circumstances arise, such as development of the Internet, social media and mobile devices, policies should be updated correspondingly. When they are revised, the correct procedures should be followed to educate the entire workplace on the changes.

4. Practice guidelines. Sexual harassment policies become meaningless when allegations of sexual harassment are brought to light. Policies that are effective show their efficacy through practice, and this is done through a strong commitment to responding to concerns in a timely manner, conducting thorough investigations, and serious consequences in cases when evidence shows sexual harassment exists.

Although not every incident and attitude toward harassment will suddenly end, thoroughly written sexual harassment policies can save a business from a legal headache. Prevention is key to keeping a business sexual-harassment free, and it can be done by developing an effective policy that is understood by all employees, and a commitment to implementing it when it is needed.


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.