Test yourself to see if your policies are ready for potential sexual harassment problems before they reach the court.
Sexual harassment in a veterinary clinic can be worse than a big business for at least three reasons. First, the physical space is fairly compact, making it difficult to avoid the person or persons creating the sexually-oriented discomfort. Second, it’s difficult in a small clinic to transfer employees away from someone who’s sexually harassing. Third, there’s an industry-specific sexual “aura” in the animal-health industry, in that such a large portion of day-to-day discussion revolves around matters of reproduction and genital anatomy. These topics can lead some employees to believe that it is somehow acceptable to inappropriately analogize, make implications and construct innuendos within an otherwise clinical discussion.
1). If no one but the offended party finds certain language or actions to be sexual harassment, then it’s likely not a problem.
2). If an employee approaches a superior with a claim of sexual harassment, the superior should always document the comments in writing.
3). Sexual harassment is so obvious that if no one in management has seen it, it’s likely not happening.
4). A few dirty jokes or an embarrassing statement or two can be grounds for sexual harassment.
5). If a person quits because he or she doesn't like what they perceive as sexual harassment, you need to worry about a lawsuit.