Doctor’s offices should have sexual harassment policies

Doctor’s offices should have sexual harassment policies

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2022 | Employment Law

While doctor’s offices may be small, they are still places of employment that must follow the same laws as any other workplace. This includes policies against sexual harassment.

Baseline policies

Pennsylvania doctor’s offices, like all other employers, must establish and enforce written policies against sexual harassment, including how to report it.

Of course, exceedingly small offices can establish less formal policies and procedures, but there should be widely distributed and known policies. For example, if there is no middle management between the doctors and staff, then an acceptable policy could be to report conduct to any non-harassing doctor.

The anti-sexual harassment policy enforcement

The doctor-owner should encourage their employees to report harassment immediately, on the first occurrence.

However, more than one person should be empowered to hear complaints, that person should be outside the normal chain of command and each complaint must be confidential to the greatest extent possible. This is because if there is only one point of contact, that person could be the harasser.

After a complaint comes in, the business must perform a thorough, prompt and impartial sexual harassment investigation, which is then, followed by appropriate corrective action.

The investigation

Investigations should include interviews with the victim, harasser, potential witnesses and anyone else with relevant information.

The employer must take steps to stop the harassment and ensure it does not continue, but they should not burden or punish the victim. That could qualify as unlawful retaliation. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has more information to help small businesses craft their policies and investigative procedures.

Corrective action

If harassment is found, immediate action must be taken to mitigate the effects, stop the harassment and ensure it does not occur in the future. However, the corrective action must be proportional to the seriousness of the offense.

The employer must correct the harassment effects, including restoring leave taken because of the harassment, erasing negative employment remarks put there by the harasser, pay raises, promotions, etc. The appropriate corrective action will differ case-to-case, but the victim should be consulted.

Pennsylvania doctor’s offices are often small, but this does not mean that employees do not have employment protections. Instead, they have the same federal protections as any other employee. You may need a lawyer to vindicate your rights.