What Every Manager Needs To Know About Sexual Harassment

by Darlene Orlov and Michael T. Roumell

AMACOM, 217 pages, $24.95

Every company wants to increase productivity and maintain a favorable public image. But nothing ruins these goals faster than a sexual harassment suit.

It's hard to sift through the many court decisions and buzzwords like "quid pro quo" and "hostile environment," but you must have clear policies -- legal sanctions can be stiff if you don't. Orlov and Roumell make sense of it all in What Every Manager Needs To Know About Sexual Harassment. They drew on their combined expertise in human resources and employment law to create a manual that will help you prevent sexual harassment and protect yourself and your company from lawsuits if it does occur.

Step one is defining sexual harassment. You need to know exactly what it is or you can't prevent it and you may go overboard trying to. You must implement a "written, accurate and readable (WAR)" policy on sexual harassment, of which there are 10 crucial elements, the authors say. They include a "zero tolerance" policy, meaning that sexual harassment is never okay. You should assure your staff that an employee who reports an incident will not be retaliated against in any way. Also, a detailed complaint and investigation procedure should be outlined.

After you've recorded the initial complaint, investigate the situation within 24 hours. If there is cause for corrective action, this book will help you decide what to do and to what extent.

What Every Manager Needs To Know About Sexual Harassment is exactly that. Checklists are included, which provide quick reference on things like investigation procedures. Case scenarios will help you identify potentially serious situations in your company, and provide you with practical guidance to help solve them.

Copyright 1999 Soundview Executive Book Summaries