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Re-evaluating policies in the wake of #MeToo campaign

Small business or large, it is important that employers take the time to ensure employee policies are set in place. Drafting these documents not only sets guidelines, but also helps to provide certain protections for employees as well as an employer. In the wake of the "#Me Too" campaign, it is an important time for employers in New York and elsewhere to re-evaluate their sexual harassment policies.

With the various movements going on across the nation, there has been a spike in the number of sexual harassment reports being filed. This is especially true in office settings. Addressing these incidents can be costly, averaging between $75,000 and $125,000 to settle a claim, typically out of court. In addition to costing a company a large sum, it could also result in a damaged image. It is vital to take steps to ensure the policies in the work environment can help protect against such a lawsuit.

By examining current policies, companies are able to better handle these maters and take proactive measures to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Based on a current survey, more than 50 percent of companies involved in the survey have reviewed their sexual harassment policies since June of 2018. This is up from around 30 percent recorded in January.

Back in January, 63 percent of those surveyed claimed that they were comfortable with their policies. However, that number dropped to 42 percent in June. No matter the size of the company, more were updating their policies and reporting procedures, even implementing a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy.

By recognizing that this form of harassment and abuse occurs in the workplace and by responding to current cultural movements, companies can take steps to protect not only themselves, but their employees as well. Whether that means seeking legal guidance in re-drafting policies or gaining assistance during allegations, it is important that employers take action in these situations.

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