Let’s talk about harassment. Is your cleaning company responsible for harassment from one employee to another?
Harassment in the workplace is a real thing. And Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says employer liability for harassment is serious.
Listen: Harassment: Is Your Cleaning Company Responsible?
Watch: Harassment: Is Your Cleaning Company Responsible?
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Harassment is a Real Problem in House Cleaning
Harassment is the topic of our conversation today. What do you do if you’re a house cleaner, and you’re harassed at work or one of your employees is harassed at work?
It’s a fantastic question.
Educate Yourself on Harassment
Today we are addressing harassment. What do you do to protect yourself?
Harassment in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination and you can prevent it. It violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also violates the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1967, and the American Disabilities Act of 1990.
You’ve got a triple whammy coming at you, depending on the type of harassment.
Different Types of Harassment
There are different types of harassment in the workplace. Some examples are age, race, religion, the nation of origin, color, pregnancy, sex, gender, and genetic information. There’s a bunch of stuff you can get into trouble for.
- What is harassment?
- Harassment is when you’re made to feel unwelcome at work.
- It could be a comment or a joke.
- Maybe somebody makes sleight of hand move
- Or there’s inappropriate touching.
- Or they show you pictures that are inappropriate.
- It could be jokes, it could be slurs or slander.
There’s a whole bunch of different things that fall into that gray area of harassment.
Your Responsibility as an Employer
As an employer, you are liable for harassment that goes on inside your workplace. Are you the one guilty of harassing? If that’s the case, please stop immediately. You can get yourself in some serious hot water.
If it’s a coworker that’s bullying another coworker, you’re still responsible.
Let’s say that you are the business owner and it’s your spouse that is harassing one of your employees. You’re responsible. If a spouse or a child of one of the other coworkers is harassing or ridiculing or making comments, it’s your job to handle that.
Let’s say that you have independent contractors that you’ve hired. If one of those is harassing one of your employees, you are still responsible.
If one of your customers is harassing an employee, you are responsible because you sent them to that house and they are required to be there. It’s a sticky situation, but you are responsible as the boss.
What Do You Do If an Employee Reports Harassment?
It’s an employees job to report harassment and bullying immediately.
As the employer, it is your job to have the proper training to teach them what to look for and what to do in this situation. Also, you should train your employees to say,
“Stop. This is inappropriate. I’m not tolerating this. This is not good behavior. Please stop.”
If they don’t stop, they need to come to you immediately to file a complaint. Then as the employer, it’s your job to take that complaint and resolve it. There are a variety of different ways you can resolve it, but it would be on a case by case basis.
Take Every Complaint Seriously
If you have an employee that comes to you and you fail to resolve it, you are liable. If there is a case, it is also judged by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (EEOC) They operate on a case by case basis. They’re going to take it and figure out, based on the scenario and all the details surrounding it. Does this become a legal issue? It could fall under the Discrimination Act, and yeah, you’re in trouble.
Employers Need to Be Prepared and Open
You want to make sure that you have policies and procedures in place. You need to create a safe work environment where your employees can come to you.
They may say, “Hey, there’s some stuff going on here that you need to know about.” Instead of making them feel uncomfortable or intimidating them, be open. Maybe ask, “What exactly happened here?” And be understanding about the situation so that you can resolve it.
What it comes down to is does the person feel unwelcome, or intimated, or abused?
Are they working in a hostile work environment because of the harassment that’s going on?
If this becomes a legal matter it will be decided if the claims are reasonable. Do other reasonable people consider that this is also harassment?
If it’s a lunatic that you’ve hired and there’s no harassment going on, that will also show up on a case by case basis. Hopefully, you’re not going to get all sorts of crazy complaints unless there’s some validity to them.
You Are Responsible for Harassment Claims
You do not want any discrimination acts against you because this is serious stuff.
As an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rule, you want to follow all the rules by the book.
Also, be sure that you do have proper training, and that all your employees have proper training and that the training is readily available. Whether the problem is you or your organization, you are responsible.
That’s a little bit about harassment. I want you to be aware of it. It’s unfortunate when it happens. Don’t let it happen to your company. If you can stop it, stop it while you have a chance before it gets out of control.
That’s it for today. If you found this helpful, please pass it on to a friend. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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