Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Sample Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies

Under many state laws, employers must create anti-discrimination or anti-harassment policies to protect employees. Even if not specifically required by law, it is a good idea for any employer to have these policies in place.

Anti-discrimination laws cover more than sexual harassment. They require employers to develop practices that minimize or eliminate workplace discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles harassment claims and reports of discriminatory employment practices. As an employer, having a written policy and formal harassment training minimizes your liability in the event of legal action.

Workplace harassment affects everyone. It creates a hostile work environment where everyone feels uncomfortable and ill at ease. Workers may be unwilling to make harassment complaints without a policy explaining how to do so. If you are a small-business owner and don't have these policies in place, these samples may help you draft your own.

Note: All states have their own anti-discrimination requirements. Check your state laws or have an attorney review your policy before implementing it.

Sample Anti-Discrimination Policy

An anti-discrimination policy could contain the following language:

Employer will not discriminate and will not permit supervisors, managers, or other employees or agents of employer to discriminate in hiring, terminating, promoting, disciplinary action, compensation, or any other conditions or decisions of employment. No discriminatory behavior based on race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other protected category will be tolerated on these premises.

Note: Your policy should include references to your state laws. Some states are more restrictive than federal laws. Your attorney can advise you about state regulations.

Sample Anti-Harassment Policy

Some states, such as California, require employers to develop anti-harassment policies. It is a good idea for business owners to have a policy as a proactive measure. Your policy should resemble this language:

Employer will not permit any form of harassment in the workplace. Employer believes all employees, prospective employees, customers, vendors, and other visitors deserve respect and dignity. Harassment based on any individual's race, religion, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or other protected characteristic will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. All employees must abide by this policy.

Note: You may also wish to include a definition of harassment in your policy. Your definition may include:

Harassment is any offensive or unwelcome conduct based on a person's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or other characteristics. Conduct becomes harassment when it creates an environment that is intimidating or hostile to a reasonable person. Harassment does not have to be sexual in nature. Harassing behavior can be physical, verbal, visual, or any other act that belittles or demeans an individual. A person need not be the target of harassment to be the victim of harassing behavior.

Note: You may want to include specific examples of harassing behavior and a warning that these examples are not exclusive.

Sample Language for Reporting Harassment

Harassment and discrimination often go unreported because employees fear for their jobs. Your policy should include language that explains how workers should report possible harassment. Your reporting policy should include a way to bypass supervisors or managers who may be part of the harassment.

An employee who believes they have been a victim of harassment should report the matter to their supervisor. If the employee believes reporting to a supervisor would be unproductive, they should contact [next direct report] or human resources. Human resources will investigate all reports of harassment and take appropriate disciplinary action. Employees' names will be kept confidential. Reporting to management does not replace or limit the right of any employee to file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Note: If your policy includes an in-house anti-harassment group, you should include them in your reporting language.

Sample Language on Disciplinary Measures for Harassment

Some human resources professionals recommend your policy include language on possible disciplinary action. This language should mirror any existing disciplinary policies in your employee handbook or contract.

Employees engaging in improper or unlawful harassing behavior will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Note: You should tailor this section to match the disciplinary language in any current documents. Some behaviors, such as sexual assault, should trigger immediate termination. Most will not.

Get Legal Advice for Your Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies

It is crucial to use the proper language in your business's anti-discrimination and harassment policy. Get help from an experienced employment law attorney to ensure you follow all laws.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps

Contact a qualified business attorney to help you prevent and address human resources problems.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

FindLaw will earn a commission if you purchase business formation products through these affiliate links.

Meet FindLaw's trusted partner LegalZoom, the #1 online business formation provider

Kickstart your LLC in minutes!

Join the millions who launched their businesses with LegalZoom.

LLC plans start at $0 + state fees.

Prefer to work with a lawyer?

Find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options