Mitigation of Legal Issues : Diversity Along With Sexual Harassment Policies

Introduction

The enactment of numerous antidiscrimination statutes has not succeeded in putting an end to the diversity, as well as sexual harassment, challenges that define most workplaces. There is a clear necessity for policies designed to ensure workplaces are devoid of stereotypes and fears regarding varied workplace issues that stem from discriminatory acts (Grobler, 2006; Williams & Dellinger, 2010). This paper presents the proposed policies for ensuring diversity and preventing sexual harassment in a given company. The company’s management should consider adopting the policies to ensure that the company’s workforce is increasingly diverse and that all its employees are free from sexual harassment. Besides ensuring that the policies are implemented, as well as complied with, by all, the management is obligated to ensure that all the related legal provisos are also observed. In addition to presenting the policies, the paper presents a training plan for the company’s employees with respect to the sexual harassment policy.

Diversity Policy

Notably, all employers are obligated by law to make certain that they put in place diversity initiatives along with policies that are not discriminatory. A number of states have different laws protecting specific classes of employees from discrimination. Before and while formulating, as well as implementing, diversity policies, employers ought to as well review and then enforce compliance with the applicable antidiscrimination statutes and statutory guidelines. Diversity policies are aimed at meeting four clear ends. First, the diversity policies are aimed at ensuring that workplace managers and employers are dedicated to the upholding of specific anti-discriminatory practices (Grobler, 2006).

Second, the diversity policies are aimed at ensuring that workplace managers and employers are dedicated to fostering equal, or comparable, opportunity to all employees and remove any attendant systemic impediments. Third, the diversity policies are aimed at ensuring that workplace managers and employers continue enforcing compliance with the applicable human rights statutes. Lastly, the diversity policies are aimed at serving as organizational or workplace value statements regarding inclusiveness. The following is the proposed diversity policy for the company:

  1. The company is keen on preserving, cultivating, as well as fostering, an organizational culture defined by inclusion and diversity.
  2. The asset of the highest worth to the company is its human capital. The cumulative individual talents, capacities, self-expression, innovation, inventiveness, knowledge, and experiences that the company’s employees invest in their workstations represent a considerable component of the company’s organizational culture, achievements, and reputation (Grobler, 2006).
  3. The company embraces, as well as encourages, its staffs’ variations in gender expression or identity, age, mental ability, physical capacity, political affiliation, marital or family status, national origin, ethnicity, disability, language, color, sexual orientation, veteran status, religion, race, and socio-economic status that makes its staff members unique.
  4. The company’s diversity programs are all applicable, however not constrained to, its policies and practices on promotions, terminations, layoffs, professional training and development, recreational and social programs, compensation, selection, recruitment, and transfers.
  5. The company shall deploy all the requisite resources to develop a workplace defined by diversity, as well as gender, equity that supports and bolsters:
  • Courteous cooperation, as well as communication, between all staff members
  • Employee participation and teamwork, allowing all staff perspectives and groups adequate representation
  • Life-work balance via work plans and schedules that are flexible enough to accommodate the unique needs of every employee
  • Employer contributions and employee contributions to the people and communities served by the company to enhance respect and appreciation of diversity.
  1. All the company’s staff members are obligated to treat their colleagues with deference and dignity always. Every employee should express behaviors and conduct that demonstrates inclusion when work is underway, at all work sites and functions, and at all events related to the company.
  2. All the staff members should attend, as well as complete, the yearly diversity awareness seminars and training sponsored by the company to bolster their capacity to meet this responsibility.
  3. Any staff members who are adjudged as having expressed improper behavior or conduct against their colleagues shall be subjected to disciplinary actions deemed fit by the company’s senior management (Grobler, 2006).
  4. Any staff member who is convinced that she or he has been discriminated against based on her or his talents, capacities, self-expression, innovation, inventiveness, knowledge, experiences, gender expression or identity, age, mental ability, physical capacity, political affiliation, marital or family status, national origin, ethnicity, disability, language, color, sexual orientation, veteran status, religion, race, and socio-economic status or other grounds of discrimination recognized by this policy should seek help promptly from his or her immediate supervisor or any personnel department representative.

Sexual Harassment Policy

The company’s policy on sexual harassment covers every form of sexual harassment regardless of whether or not it happens in an environment that is hostile or an environment that is quid pro quo. Quid pro quo sexual harassments are the ones that happen when specific employment or job benefits or advantages are made subject to sexual favors or considerations in particular capacities. Hostile environment sexual harassments happen where there are pervasive or repeated undesirable sexual requests, advances, conducts, or comments. They may include unwanted and pervasive interactions; impeding a person’s free movement; sexual jokes; and expressions of offensive or improper materials with a sexual character (International Association of Fire Chiefs, 2010).  The following is the policy on sexual harassment for the company:

  1. All the company’s supervisors and personnel department employees are obligated to take immediate and proper action on all the sexual harassment claims and incidents made known to them or observed by them.
  2. The company will offer its entire workforce continuous training on sexual harassment and uphold all the applicable sexual harassment statutes at all times.
  3. All the employees of the company are subject to this policy when within and when out of the company’s premises. Regardless of where an employee commits sexual harassment, she or he will be subject to being disciplined by the company in the ways deemed fit by the company’s senior management.
  4. Every employee of the company is barred from:
  • Assaulting any other person sexually by way of sexual molestation, rape, unwelcome sexual contact or sexual battery
  • Touching, brushing against, pinching, grabbing, patting or poking any other employee’s body.
  • Offering favored promises or treatment to specific employees in exchange for their submission to any sexual conduct. Every employee is barred from trying to solicit or soliciting other employees to induce them to agree to any sexual activities for reward or compensation.
  • Threatening other employers to get undesirable sexual attention or agree to any sexual conduct.
  • Making the performance of other staff members’ tasks challenging owing to any sexual consideration.
  • Publicizing or displaying discriminatory or sexual content within the company’s premises.
  • Retaliating for any complaint relating to sexual harassment.
  • Any staff members who are adjudged as having engaged in sexual harassment shall be subjected to disciplinary actions deemed fit by the company’s senior management (Grobler, 2006).

Training Plan to Communicate the Sexual Harassment Policy

  1. The company should conduct surveys to determine whether or not there are specific needs for the development of the policy. It should ensure that all the needs are provided for in the policy by amending it as appropriate (Özbilgin, 2009).
  2. The company should design the training program regarding the policy. It should outline of the content to be covered and list the following objectives and any other relevant objectives:
  • To ensure that employees can describe sexual harassment
  • To ensure that employee understand the need to prevent sexual harassment
  • To ensure that the employees understand all the components of the policy
  • To ensure that the employees understand all their responsibilities in line with the policy
  1. The company should develop the requisite training materials, which may include study guides, classroom tasks, and presentations. It should list the requisite resources and references and communicate their availability to the employees via suitable forums, blogs, social media platforms or newsletters
  2. The program should be implemented by communicating to the employees that it is available and everyone should participate in it to meet requirements of the applicable laws, policies, and regulations. Every employee should be obligated to participate in the program (Ocon, 2006).
  3. The effectiveness of the program should be evaluated through follow-up surveys, operational appraisals, focus groups, or other suitable means.

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