As more and more sexual harassment complaints surface across the country, it may be time to check the policy in your dealership’s employee manual.
For a long period of time, the car business was a bit of an “all-man’s-land,” with only a few women employed at dealerships. Things are changing fast now, and the culture change may come as a shock to some in your dealership departments.
As an owner or manager, it is incumbent on you to take responsibility for updating both the dealership culture and the employee manual.
Make it absolutely clear that sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. That means you must lay down the law and be deadly serious, not wink-wink serious.
Do it because it is the right thing to do, and do it because lawsuits can ruin your business. Pretend that you are protecting your daughter, sister, or wife.
No person should be made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace, and no dealer should allow his or her dealership to be a threat to an employee. If you are unsure about what your policy should be, don’t hesitate to consult an attorney to get it right.
If you have employees who have engaged in what they feel is just “friendly banter” but someone has complained, this is your chance to avoid a future firestorm.
No matter how innocent they might think jokes or comments might be, if they are remotely sexual, tell them to knock it off right now. They are wrong.
Sexual jokes and innuendo, as well as comments about sex or another person’s body, can make an employee uncomfortable. In addition, your workplace is the wrong place for employees to pick up dates, or even just flirt.
If you have ever found yourself saying, “Aw, he doesn’t mean anything by it,” you’re in for a future legal problem.
Stop any and all of it right now.
Upcoming Women in Automotive conferences
If you want to find out more, and didn’t make it to the Women in Automotive Conference in Palm Springs this month, be sure and sign up for the next one, held on June 24–26, 2018, in Orlando, Florida, and co-sponsored by Dealer Marketing Magazine. Go to WomenInAutomotive.com and click on “Conferences” for more details, or call WIA at (407) 412-9988.
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