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Chapter 13. I Fought The Law and …? > Hey, You Have Another Legal Responsibilit... - Pg. 137

I Fought The Law and ...? 137 From the Manager's Desk Prevention is important. It may be helpful to demonstrate you have done your best to prevent things like sexual harassment and verbal abuse through preventative training and communication of corporate policy to staff. What's changed is that the principles of the safe and secure workplace have been extended to nonphysical safety issues. The most obvious area is sexual harassment. We know you wouldn't sexually harass an employee, right? But you have an additional responsibility. Not only must you, personally, not harass people sexually, but you must ensure that employees don't harass each other. Here's an example: Bob constantly hits on Marie for dates and uses sexual innuendo with her. She informs him that she doesn't like that. If it continues and you do nothing, you may be sued successfully. Not only are you responsible for ensuring a psychologically safe environment, ignorance and being oblivious are not excuses for inaction. Let's say you didn't know about Bob's harassment. That may not matter. You may still be liable. You are expected to know what's going on and to take positive steps to ensure this kind of behavior doesn't occur. Certainly, you aren't a miracle worker and can't be responsible for everything, but you may need to demonstrate that you have a sexual harassment policy in place, that Bob (and all employees) are aware of it, and that when any problems are brought to your attention you take appropriate action to remedy it. For example, you might be expected to have introduced relevant training into the workplace as a preventative measure. This Won't Work! Ignorance is no protection under harassment laws. The law looks at whether you as a manager should have known about a potential problem. If it's reasonable to have known and you still weren't aware, too bad. This may extend into other areas, and there's a clear link to dealing with difficult behavior. What are the implications? First, difficult behavior that affects the psychological welfare of others may require you to take pos- itive and proactive action to deal with the specific situation, and to prevent it from occurring in the first place.