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What to do if your company doesn't have a harassment policy

Working for a small business can be largely fulfilling for any employee. However, there are some drawbacks. For instance, you can certainly develop closer relationships with colleagues and your employer, but there can be consequences of being too friendly.

In many cases, smaller companies may not have in place adequate sexual harassment policies and training because there is the assumption that such measures are not necessary. In fact, according to a recent poll, 67 percent of small employers responded that they did not have a workplace harassment policy in place. 

This can be very upsetting if you are being sexually harassed on the job. In these situations, you can feel scared and embarrassed, not to mention confused about what you can do to protect yourself.

If you are in this situation, you should remember that you still have options to protect your rights. Even if you are not made aware of the protections in place with an official policy at work, you can still do a few things to address harassment, stop it and ensure your rights are not violated.

  1. Document any harassing behaviors and misconduct as best as you can.
  2. Talk to someone with whom you are comfortable discussing harassment. This could include your boss, an HR representative or someone else who fulfills many HR-related obligations.
  3. Review employee handbooks or other documents and look for any information on approved behavior in the workplace, or how to file complaints.

It can also be wise to consult an attorney regarding the federal protections in place for employees at certain companies. These exist whether your workplace has an official policy or not, however they only apply to employees at specific types and sizes of companies. There are also state-specific laws and practices in place.

Addressing sexual harassment in workplaces with a small workforce can be an incredible challenge. Not only could there be a lack of resources and rules, but there could also be personal relationships and close connections involved. Considering how upsetting and awkward this might be, it can be crucial that you talk about the possible courses of action with an experienced employment law attorney.

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