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As summer approaches, teenagers begin thinking about and looking for a summer job. A summer job is often the first exposure a teenager has to the workplace environment, whether it’s in an office, a construction site, a restaurant, or retail store, etc.
It is up to the employer to educate and train these young people concerning appropriate work ethic, dress, behavior, and interacting with their co-workers and customers. Teaching teenagers to recognize sexual harassment, how to avoid it in their own behavior, reporting it, and responding appropriately if they encounter it, are valuable tools for both the teenager and the employer.
Employers should always be explicit in communicating their expectations, and clearly define that sexual harassment of any kind is totally unacceptable and is to be reported immediately should it occur. By laying down the ground rules for teenagers beginning their summer jobs, employers can avoid sexual harassment law suits in addition to helping their employees enjoy a productive and harassment free work environment.
Concerns to Address for Teenagers and Summer Jobs in IL
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the following concerns should be addressed when training teenagers for summer jobs:
- Sexual harassment is NEVER acceptable behavior in the work environment, regardless of who it may involve, including supervisors, co-workers, delivery personnel, customers, or the owner of the business. Any hint of inappropriate remarks or behavior should be stopped before it escalates and is interpreted as sexual harassment which is unlawful.
- According to EEOC, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
- Appropriate training should include helping employees differentiate between acceptable behavior outside and inside the workplace by demonstrating clear examples of such behavior.
Properly training teenagers to behave professionally during their summer employment, and to recognize inappropriate behavior from co-workers, and/or customers, will provide them with the skills they will need when they begin their adult careers.
If you have concerns regarding sexual harassment involving your teenage son or daughter, contact Goldman & Ehrlic, Illinois sexual harassment experts, today.