BLR News

7/28/2004

Workplaces Have Grown Safer from Harassment

Old Saybrook, CT – July 29, 2004 – The workplace has grown at least somewhat safer from harassment over the past decade, according to more than 80 percent of the voters in an online poll conducted by HR.BLR.com, the leading website for human resources professionals.

Site visitors were asked, "Is the workplace any safer from harassment than it was 10 years ago?" They answered as follows:

Yes, somewhat safer—49%

Yes, significantly safer—32%

No, there hasn't been any change—14%

No, it's somewhat worse—5%

No, it's significantly worse—1%

The poll, conducted July 15-22, drew 311 votes.

Though nearly one-third of the voters called the workplace "significantly safer," legal editors at Business and Legal Reports, Inc., the compliance publisher that operates HR.BLR.com, noted that a much larger segment—about one-half—preferred the qualifier "somewhat." It’s a sign, they said, that employers still need to make a top priority of training and educating their employees on the differences between acceptable and unacceptable behavior—not just to ensure a safe and pleasant workplace, but also to protect the company from costly lawsuits.

"Demonstrating that reasonable care was taken to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace is an employer’s best defense," BLR Legal Editor Anne Sundheimer said. "Sexual harassment training and an effective complaint process will meet this standard and help an employer avoid liability or at least limit any damages that may occur."

The HR.BLR.com library includes a section that defines sexual harassment, summarizes recent regulatory and case-law developments, and outlines prevention strategies. Visit it here.