As a manager, you’ve received extensive training on harassment in the workplace and your responsibilities in reporting and dealing with harassment claims. You already know how to handle harassment amongst your employees – but have you thought about harassment claims against your customers or vendors? Third-party harassment claims are just as serious as internal harassment claims, and you’re just as responsible for responding to them.
What is Third-Party Harassment?
Third-party harassment is when any person who is not an employee of your organization harasses one of your employees. This could be a partner, vendor, customer, independent contractor, or even a delivery driver. In these cases, the guidelines for what constitutes harassment remain the same as they would for any employee within your organization.
Here’s an example of what third-party harassment could look like:
Five Tips for Preventing Third-Party Harassment
While you may think you have no control over what customers or other non-employees do, that is not true. It is still your responsibility to protect your employees and provide a productive working environment. Here are some ways to try to prevent third party harassment in your organization:
1. Train all employees and managers not only on harassment prevention policies, but also on recognizing harassment. Be sure training for managers also includes how to handle harassment claims.
2. Consider providing bystander intervention training to ensure employees know how and when to properly intervene if they witness a co-worker being harassed.
3. Develop harassment policies that clearly state anti-harassment provisions also protect employees from harassment from third parties.
4. Provide all vendors, partners, and anyone else who regularly works with your organization a copy of your harassment policies, and make sure they are familiar with your policies.
5. Treat all reports seriously, and take swift action to document and investigate all claims. Do not hesitate to take corrective action to protect an employee, even if it results in losing a customer.
Prevent Harassment With Online Training
Prevent harassment by providing harassment training that empowers employees to recognize and report all types of harassment – including by third parties. The more information employees have, the more empowered they will be. Online training through a learning management system is efficient and effective. Start training your employees on harassment prevention today.