How Do I Protect My Company?
You're responsible to act with reasonable care to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment. If you act with reasonable care, your chances of being hit with a claim go way down. Just as importantly, if you can prove you've acted with reasonable care, you are much less likely to have a claim upheld by the EEOC or lose a case in court. Here are the three key elements of reasonable care:
You must have a policy that strictly prohibits sexual harassment in your company. This policy must provide for an effective mechanism for employees to report sexual harassment. Most importantly, you must adhere to this policy. If you have a policy and don't adhere to it, it could be worse than not having a policy at all. So, behave like your policy says you will behave. And if you have a report of sexual harassment, act immediately.
A policy prohibiting sexual harassment is the foundation of reasonable care. But a policy alone is not enough. You should also provide in-depth training for all employees, and especially, all managers. This training should include a test that ensures all employees understand their responsibilities surrounding sexual harassment.
It's not enough to have a policy and conduct training. You must keep records proving you've exercised reasonable care. That includes documentation that employees are agreed to your policy and that they've successfully completed your training.