What do the names President Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Roy Price, Kevin Spacey, President George H.W. Bush, and many other high-profile names have to do with the RV industry?
For a starter, they have provided energy to a new awakening of an age-old workplace violation. That violation is sexual harassment.
It seems that every day we learn of another high-profile figure being accused of workplace sexual harassment. With these recent allegations and violations, the immediate questions that should enter the weekly discussions at dealership staff meetings are more important than ever regarding potential violations of workplace sexual harassment.
For reasons that should certainly now be very apparent, the following concerns should be addressed:
- What safeguards has the dealership implemented to protect its employees from the hazards and threats of sexual harassment and/or discrimination?
- How detailed is the Dealership Sexual Harassment Policy?
- Does the dealership even have an official Policy in place? Is it re-visited and updated regularly, such as on an annual basis?
- Is every employee aware of the Policy, and have they acknowledged their understanding of this Policy, and a copy of their acknowledgement updated regularly, and a copy of this acknowledgement placed in their personnel file?
- Are key elements built into the Policy, such as what process is outlined should an employee report a potential violation?
- What procedures are in position to ensure confidentiality throughout a possible investigation?
- If an investigation is initiated and finalized, what procedures are in place to address corrective action?
- What is the dealership’s policy regarding consensual and intimate relationships between co-workers?
- What protections are in position to ensure an employee filing a report can do so without fear of retaliation? Does the policy outline the path to take if they feel they are retaliated against for filing a report?
- What does the policy outline with regards to potential workplace violations such as offensive jokes, the posting or distribution of offensive materials such as pictures, emails or other social media?
Taking proactive measures to protect employees from potential sexual harassment, and provide a comfortable and safe work environment, is not only the proper and ethical thing for the dealership to do, it is a vanguard against potential legal violations, costly penalties and the loss of valuable employees, not to mention the reputation that the dealership has worked so hard to develop and maintain.
If your dealership does not have a current Dealership Sexual Harassment Policy in place, or you would like to compare your existing Policy with an established and regularly updated Policy, please contact us.