Sexual harassment is rampant in the food service industry, and because of this, it’s not if you get hit with a sexual harassment issue, but when. Vendors need to institute a sexual harassment policy included in your employee training. At the same time you need to have a policy about sexual harassment with a firm grievance procedure.
This policy must spell out what your position is on sexual harassment, what will happen if a sexual harassment claim is made and how they can file a sexual harassment complaint. Not only is it a great tool to back up what you provide in training but it will be an invaluable piece of protection for you when someone files a lawsuit against you and your food truck business.
8 Elements Every Sexual Harassment Policy Needs
- Define the problem. Food truck vendors need to define sexual harassment.
- Provide Examples. Provide illustrations of what can be construed as sexual harassment.
- Maintain Zero Tolerance. Since sexual harassment in the workplace is an issue with many potential gray areas, it’s best to cast your food truck’s sexual harassment policy is black and white.
- Explain Duty to Report. Employees who feel they’ve suffered sexual harassment have to understand that their part in the process is a timely and accurate report to management.
- Retaliation. Since sexual harassment is often a power move, those who’ve been subjected to harassment or witnessed it must know they have protection against retaliation.
- Complaint procedure. Every step should be clearly spelled out. The investigative procedure should also be detailed.
- Confidentiality. Victims of sexual harassment often feel embarrassed about it. Make things easier by promising the greatest degree of confidentiality possible. You cannot, promise absolute confidentiality as you may be compelled to provide information to law enforcement, as well as to others in management.
- Training. This last is a must-have, not only as a point of sexual harassment policy, but as an active program.
Set An Example
As the owner of your food truck, you need to set a good example for your employees. Some ground rules to help keep you out of trouble.
- Don’t touch employees inappropriately.
- Never date someone who works for you.
- Don’t demean others or make suggestive comments.
Protect yourself as an employer. Make it clear to your employees that you strongly disapprove of any form of harassment, including sexual harassment. The best way to do this is by implementing a sexual harassment policy, educating your team regarding the policy and enforcing it.
The Bottom Line
Your food truck’s sexual harassment policy needs to be clear and complete, but the policy must then be followed by a strong and active training program.