MAY-JUN 2018

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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BUSINESS CONSULT | By Phillip M. Perry Sexually charged comments and behaviors can destroy workplace morale and spark costly lawsuits. As victims of sexual harassment become more willing to speak out, organizations of all sizes are taking steps to address the problem. Practice owners can protect their businesses and employees by instituting policies and procedures that pro- mote a respectful work environment. THE COSTS OF HARASSMENT People often think of sexual harassment in terms of quid pro quo: a supervisor offers someone a job or a raise in re- turn for a sexual act. But in today's workplaces most sexual harassment claims stem from hostile work environments. For example, yesterday your employee Jake compli- mented Sarah on her "sexy" new hairdo. Today he patted Marianne on the shoulder and thanked her for wearing a "revealing" new outfi t. And he's been pressing Deborah, the regional sales rep, for a date to "get better acquainted." Jake may be a top-performing employee, and it may appear that the women are willing to play along with his chatter. Still, his comments are creating a hostile work en- vironment that can affect morale and lead to a costly sexual harassment lawsuit. "Most complaints in recent years are not for quid pro quo harassment but for claims stemming from inappropri- ate touching, comments and jokes," says Joseph P. Harkins, an attorney with Littler, a San Francisco and Washington, DC-based employment law practice representing manage- ment. "Ignoring this type of sexual harassment can lead to costly fi nancial settlements, low morale and negative publicity for a business." The fi nancial cost of sexual harassment lawsuits can be substantial: While federal law caps compensatory damages at $300,000, most state laws have no such ceiling. "It is popular for plaintiffs to sue under state law for the unlim- ited damages," says Harkins. And the fi nancial costs don't 22 MAY/JUNE 2018 | MedEsthetics © GETTY IMAGES Anti-harassment policies help protect employees—and your practice. UNWANTED ADVANCES

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