The #MeToo movement has spurred many employers to wonder what they can do to create a safe environment for their employees. On April 17, Attorney General Bob Ferguson helped further the conversation, when he released a guide designed to be posted in workplaces to make Washington employees aware of their rights when it comes to sexual harassment.
The flyer is in both English and Spanish and gives brief explanations of the kinds of behavior that is considered illegal, what employers should do to prevent it and deal with it, and what to do about it if it happens to an employee.
“Every Washingtonian deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace,” said Ferguson. “Sexual harassment in the workplace is an illegal form of discrimination. This flyer empowers employees by making their rights and options easy to understand.”
Download free copies of the flyers here.
The flyer describes sexual harassment as “a form of illegal sex discrimination involving unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct that is based on sex. All forms of sexual harassment are illegal.”
Employers may be liable for this behavior if they don’t do the following:
- Give employees the ability to properly report or make complaints about sexual harassment;
- Investigate reports of sexual harassment quickly and completely; and
- Take quick and effective steps to prevent further sexual harassment in the workplace.
The flyer also provides steps for employees if they witness or experience sexual harassment. To address this unlawful behavior, employees may:
- Tell the harasser or their manager that their behavior is offensive, and not welcome;
- Report the behavior to management or HR; and
- Report the harassment to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or all of these agencies if necessary.