Various federal and state laws ensure a number of workers’ rights. Among these laws are many that protect workers from both unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment. However, the mere existence of these laws does not always prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring in the workplace. As a result, it is imperative that employers, managers and workers all make efforts to ensure that harassment in the workplace is prevented and is appropriately addressed whenever it is not adequately prevented.

Each year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives thousands and thousands of complaints from workers alleging that they have become victims of workplace harassment. How can employers and workers alike better ensure that harassment does not occur in their workplaces? First, employers must draft anti-harassment policies designed to deter harassment and hold harassers accountable. Second, workers must speak up whenever necessary to ensure that anti-harassment policies are enforced and that their legal rights are respected.

Not all employers and workers understand exactly what harassment looks like or how it should be addressed. When constructing an anti-harassment policy, employers should take care to describe harassment in ways that workers can easily understand and make sure that the policy is enforced in a “zero-tolerance” way.

Unfortunately, even when employers aim to prevent workplace harassment, it does sometimes continue to occur. If you or a co-worker has been the subject of workplace harassment and your employer has not appropriately addressed the situation, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your legal options.

Source: USA Today, “Stop workplace harassment in your company,” Jane Howard-Martin, Nov. 14, 2013