CNBC: #MeToo on Main Street: Small Business Can’t Overlook Workplace Harassment

By at 22 February, 2018, 11:38 am

A February 21 story by Kate Rogers reported on a recent CNBC/Survey Monkey survey, which found “that half of small-business owners have a formal policy on how to handle harassment claims. But at businesses with zero to four employees, only 39 percent had such policies, compared to 85 percent of businesses with 50 or more employees.”

SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan was interviewed for the piece and offered her observations:

“This is one of those issues that entrepreneurs may tend to overlook, and it’s something that sneaks up on them,” said Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the nonpartisan advocacy group, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “They may believe the culture they’ve established is one of respect, and that is enough to send a message that inappropriate behavior is unacceptable and it won’t happen in their workplace. But given the high-profile nature of the issue and how it has played out in every sector, that should be a wake-up call to business owners.

According to the results of CNBC’s survey more small business owners have become aware of the need for a formal anti-harassment policy and are taking action. Still, many have not. A human resources expert quoted for the piece urges small business owners to take heed, and action.

Establishing an anti-harassment policy is smart business and not difficult. There are solid online resources to help you develop one and to instill a respectful workplace. Here are several:

FIND LAW:  Sample Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies

SOCIETY OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Sample Policy – Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure (includes Dating/Consensual Relationship Policy Provision)

Sample Policy: Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure

Sample Policy: Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint/Investigative Procedure

PAYCHEX: Preventing Workplace Harassment – 5 Proactive Steps

As noted in the CNBC article:

“You can’t turn a blind eye to this issue,” Kerrigan said. “No matter how remote the chance of sexual misconduct or harassment may seem when you are starting out — the financial, reputational and productivity costs to your business are way too high” to risk not having a formal policy in place.

View Kate Rogers summary of the survey’s findings below:


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