Every employer should periodically evaluate their sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies to ensure compliance and find opportunities for potential improvements to those policies. However, a comprehensive review of these policies can be expensive. Luckily, Microsoft has recently released a comprehensive report on the effectiveness of its existing policies and recommendations to improve those policies and practices. This report was drafted for them by an independent law firm.
Many smaller employers cannot afford to conduct a comprehensive report of this type, so Microsoft’s release of the report creates a unique opportunity for small employers to piggyback off of their investment. The complete final report can be found here.
Key Improvements Recommended in the Report
- Have the CEO sign the anti-discrimination and harassment policies
- Revise the anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies to provide more examples and clarify expectations
- Require disclosure of certain consensual relations where a conflict of interest could develop and define inappropriate relationships
- Adopt a formal procedure to request reconsideration of an investigation’s findings that a party disagrees with
- Advise employees of the right to seek external relief
- Develop an effective tool to track and remind senior leaders that they need to take required training on gender discrimination and sexual harassment issues
- Ask complainants to complete surveys about their investigation experience
- Establish Credible Transparency around Remedial Efforts
- Take steps to minimize a perception that senior leaders are not held accountable
- Coordinate data among the various HR teams and groups that investigate allegations of misconduct
- Make improvements in the investigation process
- Continue efforts to increase the percentage of women in senior leadership positions.