Does Your Firm Need a Sexual Harassment Policy?

Beverly FlaxingtonBeverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

This is embarrassing. With all of the allegations coming out of well-known people in the media, including Matt Lauer most recently, I am concerned about my own reputation. I wonder whether I have inadvertently made women working for me uncomfortable. I have not engaged in any explicit contact or inappropriate behaviors, but I wonder whether I have said things that are considered demeaning or behaved in a way that seemed normal to me but not to my colleagues.

I am an outgoing and gregarious person and am not sure if I have ever hugged someone with happiness, or said something about their clothing or appearance. My wife has chastised me about calling the young women in my office “girls,” so I don’t do that. If I unintentionally did something someone found offensive, it could have been construed differently..

Is it prudent for me to reach out to the women in my firm and ask whether I have done anything they were uncomfortable with? I don’t want to hide my head in the sand and I also don’t want to cause an issue where none exists. It is a tough tightrope to walk. Your input would be helpful.