The Australian Human Rights Commission says a ‘‘significant number of sexual harassment complaints received … involve small businesses’’
Tony Featherstone wrote in this weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald that small businesses, being without human resources and legal departments, may be at a disadvantage compared to large corporates. But consider this: the large corporates with HR and legal teams are the very organisations that have failed to prevent the high profile cases we are reading about.
A small business owner is certainly at greater personal risk than the CEO of a listed company. A six figure claim for compensation will come straight off the bottom line and out of the business owner’s pocket. It may lead to the loss of the family home if that were the business’ collateral.
Small firms can take four simple steps to meet their duty of care obligations without overburdening themselves with paperwork and bureaucracy:
1 Lead by example from the top as a manager and leader
2 Encourage open discussions that help everyone understand the limits of jokes, horseplay and discrimination
3 Have a simple (one page) policy that sets out definitions, responsibilities and procedures
4 Certify that each employee has understood the policy
At RealTrainingRightNow we provide training material to promote the discussions, covering the critical skills needed to effectively manage conversations. Includes a case study, sample one page policy and a process to certify the employees understand their rights and responsibilities.