7 Ways to Curb Sexual Harassment at Your Community

There have been several prominent cases of sexual harassment in the media lately. This should not be acceptable in any type of workplace. Especially at apartment communities, where the victims—or harassers—can be employees or residents.

jfiur thumbnailLouis CK. Kevin Spacey. Matt Lauer. Seriously, people, is there anyone out there who isn’t some sort of *alleged* monster?

One good thing that has come out of all this is that people are no longer willing to put up with this type of behavior, and that the rich and powerful might no longer be able to hide behind their money and fame.

And sexual harassment should not be acceptable in any type of workplace. Especially at apartment communities, where the victims—or harassers—can be employees or residents.

So what can you do to ensure that your community is a safe space to live and work?

no-symbol-39767_960_720Here are a few common sense practices you should adopt at your community. (And, make sure to contact a lawyer to clear everything first.)

Lay out expectations in the employee handbook. Write out an employee code of conduct so that everyone knows what’s acceptable. (We know this should all be common sense, but since it’s apparently not—ahem, *allegedly* Harvey Weinstein, ahem—spell it all out.) There’s probably boilerplate text you can if you search online. And again, contact a lawyer.

Train your employees. Don’t let anyone plead ignorance. When you onboard your new employees, education about sexual harassment should be included in the training. But don’t stop with just when they begin. You should hold annual trainings for your employees.

Take every complaint seriously. If someone comes to you, it should be on the record. Look into the complaint. Follow appropriate procedures. You want all your employees to feel comfortable enough to come to you if something happens.

Make a “safe space.” Some people might be afraid to make complaints—they fear they’ll get fired, or of reprisal. Make it known that you’ll keep their comments private (and, once again, talk to a lawyer about this), or at least that they won’t get in trouble.

Follow up. If you gave someone a warning, follow up with the person who made the complaint as well. Make sure the action has not been repeated.

Follow through. If, in the employee guidebook, it says that something will result in termination, than follow the appropriate steps and terminate that employee if necessary. Don’t let things slide. If people know there are consequences for their actions, they’re not going to take liberties.

Don’t keep “open secrets.” That’s the phrase we’ve all been hearing about all these public cases. “Everyone knew.” If the rumor mill is flying, investigate. Don’t let things get to the point where when something does happen, people ask why nothing was done to stop it earlier.

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