Major Ben's articles

Below is a list of articles by Major Ben Brooks that have appeared in the Times Herald.

 

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Sexual Harassment: Easing Your Conscience or Addressing the Bottom Line

By Major Ben Brooks

I received an e-mail from a small organization that wanted to engage my services to provide sexual harassment awareness training to their small staff.   The human resources director was very serious about undertaking the initiative since the organization had not done any training in that area. She was targeting everyone in the organization, including the CEO.

I sensed that the CEO would be a reluctant participant when the HR director indicated that he may be a part of the organization’s problem. She was quite surprised when I informed her that my sessions are three to six hours long.  She was hoping to have the whole process take no more than one hour. It is interesting that so many organizations have that same mindset.

With the constant bombardment of information about sexual harassment cases that are published in the news, one would think organizations would be more vigilant. How sad that a topic that is so important and affects so many people would be given a short shrift instead of a comprehensive addressing of the issue. An hour’s presentation simply would satisfy the organization’s conscience that the issue was addressed. Instead, a fully implemented program will insulate the organization from serious liability. If the employees are the most valued assets of the company, let them know it by ensuring that each one is given comprehensive awareness education that will protect them and the organization from serious liability.

From the earliest cases of unwanted, unwelcome behavior to the recent ruling about retaliation, sexual harassment awareness has evolved over the decades, and it is time for organizations to become proactive and put more emphasis on organizational education and less on organizational liability. Here are a few simple steps to insulate your organization from serious liability:

  1. Develop a sexual harassment policy.
  2. Publish the policy to all employees.
  3. Educate all employees and supervisors.
  4. If an allegation surfaces, if possible have an outside entity conduct the investigation to ensure the highest degree of confidence and impartiality in the process.
  5. Take immediate action when an allegation is lodged.
  6. Insure that there is no retaliation
  7. Document, document, document.

Comprehensive educational awareness of sexual harassment is a matter of dollars and sense. Not only will it save the company or organization big dollars, but it makes a lot of sense.

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