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Human resources help protect against sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is having a moment in the news right now – and it’s not a good one. While the victims are getting a chance to share their stories without shame, it shows a much larger issue within the workplace in the entertainment industry.

This problem doesn’t start and stop with the film and TV business. Sexual harassment is an issue that can touch every industry, and companies should be prepared to address it if it happens.

Having a strong human resources department will not eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, but it can give employees more confidence to report it than if there isn’t an HR representative. If a sexual harassment case does happen, having a department in place that takes employee accusations seriously and acts accordingly will protect a company from lawsuits in the future. Not to mention it will create a healthier, safer workplace environment for all employees by reprimanding, punishing or terminating perpetrators.

Even with an HR department ready to handle employee relations and potential sexual misconduct, managers and business owners should still be vigilant in regards to sexual harassment issues. In an interview on sexual misconduct in the workplace with National Public Radio, Laurie Ruettimann, a human resources consultant, said that supervisors and managers should take office gossip regarding sexual harassment seriously. If they hear something that sounds suspicious, they can act on it and ask questions before going to HR.

For companies beginning to build an HR department, finding a good hire will be competitive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that human resources manager jobs will grow 9 percent in the next 10 years. These hires expect strong compensation, with the median salary in the six-figure range.

While competition and salary expectations in HR are fierce, they can be a worthwhile investment to protect employees from repeated sexual harassment and help employers act quickly if an incident occurs.

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