Adopt This Sample Sexual Harassment Policy To Protect Your Practice

January 2018
Practice Management Personnel

In our December 2017 article "How To Protect Your Practice Against A Sexual Harassment Claim," we discussed steps to protect your practice against a sexual harassment claim. We strongly advised putting in place a written policy against sexual harassment. At the request of several readers, we’re offering a sample policy for your practice. Since state laws vary, be sure to have your attorney review it before adopting.

[PRACTICE NAME] Sexual Harassment Policy 

Our practice does not tolerate sexual harassment of any employee by owners, managers, doctors, other employees, vendors, or patients. Reported violations of this policy will be investigated, and violators will be subject to disciplinary action, including possible termination of employment, as discussed below. 

Defining Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that’s sufficiently persistent or offensive to interfere with an employee’s job or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. It includes: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when, for example: a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or  c)  such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. 

The following are examples of sexual harassment. Please note that this list is illustrative only, and not meant to be exhaustive. 

  • Physical assaults of a sexual nature, or any attempt to commit these assaults, including intentional physical contact that is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, poking or brushing against another employee’s body. 
     
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or other sexual comments, such as sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks or jokes. 
     
  • Preferential treatment or promises of preferential treatment to an employee for submitting to sexual conduct, or any retaliation for failure to submit. 
     
  • Subjecting, or threats of subjecting, an employee to unwelcome sexual attention or conduct. 
     
  • Intentionally making performance of the employee’s job more difficult because of the person’s sex. 
     
  • Retaliation for sexual harassment complaints.

Responding to Conduct in Violation of Policy

The employee should immediately address the situation directly to the alleged harasser, if possible. If the inappropriate conduct does not cease immediately, or if the employee is unable to or uncomfortable with addressing the alleged harasser directly, he or she should immediately report the incident. 

All complaints of sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual conduct should be reported immediately in the manner set forth below. Our practice must be made aware of the situation so we can conduct an immediate investigation and take appropriate action.

Complaint Resolution Procedures 

Employees should provide a written complaint about the alleged misconduct to the office manager, doctor, or (list name and contact number for practice attorney or investigative consultant) as soon as possible after an incident has occurred. To enable a prompt and thorough investigation, the complaint should provide the following information: 

  1. The name and position of the person or persons allegedly causing the harassment.
     
  2. A description of the incident(s), including the date(s) and location(s).
     
  3. The name(s) of any witnesses.
     
  4. The effect of the incident(s) on the complainant’s ability to perform his or her job, or on other terms or conditions of his or her employment.
     
  5. The names of other individuals who might have been subject to the same or similar harassment.
     
  6. What, if any, steps the complainant has taken to try to stop the harassment.
     
  7. Any other relevant information. 

All  complaints will be treated confidentially and investigated thoroughly. 

Discipline 

Any employee found to have been engaging in sexual harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, including possible termination of employment.

Acknowledgement 

[This should be a separate page and returned to the office manager.] 

I acknowledge that I have received, read, and understand the sexual harassment policy of [practice name], including the related complaint procedures. I understand that failure to comply with the policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. 
 

_____________________________________________________
Employee Signature                             Date


______________________________________________________
Employee Name (please print)


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