Summer offers some excellent opportunities to express gratitude to your employees. If you are planning a barbeque or another summertime gathering, though, you should be on the lookout for sexual harassment. After all, when your employees are away from the office, they may cross the line.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is any harassment that occurs because of a person’s sex. This harassment may include unwelcome advances, inappropriate comments or even physical assaults.
It is not uncommon for employers to have off-site picnics or team-building activities during the summer. Because these gatherings often have a more relaxed air to them, employees may not respect workplace norms. If you offer alcohol or your employees bring their own libations, intoxication may add to the problem.
Your company’s sexual harassment policy
You likely have a policy that prohibits sexual harassment at the workplace. This policy should extend to off-site activities, such as your summertime gatherings. Still, it may be beneficial to remind employees about your sexual harassment policy in a company-wide memorandum or e-mail. Simply reminding employees about their obligations to behave appropriately may help to keep employees in line.
While you probably have a great deal of influence over how your employees behave, you cannot control their actions. If employees violate your sexual harassment policy at your summer event, it is advisable to investigate the matter and address it promptly. Otherwise, you may have to respond to an official complaint.
Ultimately, by striking the right tone when announcing your company’s summertime get-together, you may ensure your employees have a good time without having to worry about sexual harassment.