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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Page 27 of 68 | MAY/JUNE 2018 25 you don't want the complainant to decide what action is taken, you do want to get that person's input on what re- medial measure they deem appropriate," says Harkins. Complainants may have any number of reactions to what they have experienced. "Sometimes they say the harassment was not severe, but they reported it because they wanted the organization to know about it," says Har- kins. "Sometimes they just want to have a discussion or have the person counseled. In some cases, they ask that a person be terminated." If the remedial action you recommend does not satisfy the complainant, Harkins suggests involving that person in reviewing and/or implementing new training on harass- ment in the workplace. This shows that you are willing to take action and that your goal is to improve the work- place environment. Be proactive. Communicate your commitment to a respectful work environment by actively monitoring your workplace for violations. "Don't just wait for complaints to be fi led," says Gregg. "Be proactive, and make sure all supervisors realize they have a duty to take action when a questionable event occurs." Such monitoring should include addressing behavior that might not be illegal but has the potential to escalate. "When a person is nasty, surly and engaged in behavior that is disruptive and abusive—and this includes making crude comments or reinforcing gender stereotypes—speak up and say you expect the individual to be civil," says Gregg. Beware fraternization. Supervisors need to under- stand the risks involved in blurring the line between busi- ness and personal relationships. "Managers and supervisors can have friendly relationships with subordinates, but they should not be friends with subordinates," says McDonald. Failure to maintain professional distance, he says, can lead to situations that may not appear initially as harassment but could result in such charges down the road. For example, if a supervisor and subordinate become close at work, one or the other may start taking liber- ties, such as texting after business hours about personal problems, asking for personal or fi nancial advice, or they may start attending social outings together. "These kinds of liberties can create situations that create confusion for both parties," says McDonald. This also raises the question of employee relation- ships. Many people meet their spouses at work. But when sparks fl y between a supervisor and subordinate, it can raise questions of consent, especially if the relation- ship ends poorly. Therefore, it is benefi cial to create a policy on workplace dating. "Some employers state that no one may date any co-worker or any supervised employee. Others allow consensual relations, but require the parties to notify management, which can then assess any confl icts of interest and transfer employees to separate departments or shifts, if needed," says Gregg. While every business owner wants to mitigate the risk of fi nancial penalties re- sulting from harassment claims, there is more at stake than simply avoiding costly lawsuits. "People are often concerned about the legal liabilities for sexual harassment, and that aspect of the problem has certainly been making the headlines recently," says Gregg. "But legal liability should not be what drives the topic." More importantly, employees are more produc- tive—and less likely to investigate other job opportuni- ties—when they are working in a positive and respectful environment free of unwanted sexual advances and derogatory comments. "Create a respectful workplace not because the law makes you do it, but because it's to the benefi t of your practice, your patients and your employ- ees," says Gregg. Phillip M. Perry is a freelance writer based in New York City. Supervisors need to understand the risks involved in blurring the line between business and personal relationships.

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