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Sexual harassment and public-sector workplaces

Sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct can cause massive damage in a public-sector workplace. It can expose a public entity’s employees to great harm and could lead to the entity facing legal action that could have lasting repercussions for it financially and reputation-wise. 

So, it critical for public entities to take proper steps to prevent sexual misconduct from arising in their workplaces. It is also important for such entities to properly respond when incidents of such misconduct do occur. Failing to respond in the right way could cause the situation to get much worse and create an environment in which further misconduct could be more likely to happen.

A recent article on Governing’s website noted some of the conditions that, when they come up in a public-sector workplace, could get in the way of instances of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct being properly addressed. This includes:

  • The internal reporting process being confusing.
  • Reputation protection being put above dealing with the situation properly.
  • Managers being overly dismissive of claims.
  • The reporting process putting too much of an emotional burden on victims.
  • Employees feeling afraid to report claims.
  • The work environment being a hostile one.

So, it can be very important for public-sector employers to take proper steps to prevent such conditions from coming up in their workplace. Among the things that could impact the likelihood of such conditions arising are what policies and practices the employer has in place regarding sexual harassment prevention, training and reporting. Skilled public entity attorneys can assist public-sector employers with developing sexual harassment policies. They can also advise such employers on legal matters when allegations of sexual misconduct arise in their workplace. 

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