Why You Need Proper Harassment Policies

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Let’s say you’re running an event, and one of your guests is harassed by one of your new volunteers.  That’s a bit of a nightmare where PR is concerned, isn’t it? Now take things a step further – imagine you’ve no idea how to deal with such an incident; that you don’t have any harassment policies in place that dictate how you and your team should respond.

Let’s take that story a step further. That guest, disgruntled at how your events team mishandled the situation, ends up taking you to court for what happened. Now not only are you dealing with a legal quagmire of incredible proportions, you’re having your reputation as an event management professional besmirched.

Not really a pleasant situation by any stretch, is it?

There’s a reason I started this post with such a story. See, there are some rather valuable lessons to be learned from the mistakes of other event firms; from imagining precisely how things might go wrong. See, if you plan for the worst, you can ensure that you handle even small incidents in the best way possible.

The lesson here is simple, and it’s one that I advise all event planners to take careful note of. If an attendee is assaulted, injured, or otherwise harmed in any way at one of your conferences, then it’s your responsibility as an organizer to get involved. This is especially true if the offending party is one of your volunteers, partners or guests. It’s not enough to simply involve yourself, either; to smooth things along you’re going to need to work out a list of protocols that you can adhere should catastrophe strike.

Without these guidelines, you’ll be left to wade through the challenge of crisis management, public relations, and reparations entirely blind. Chances are good you’ll be able to handle it on your own, at least to some degree. That said, there’s no reason to make things any more difficult than they have to be – there’s no reason not to have a process you can adhere to in the event that someone, event staff or no, harasses one of your guests.

The smoother you can make the process, the better you’ll look, after all.  Ultimately, you should never forget that as an event management professional, whatever brand you’re promoting is a secondary priority. Conferences are ultimately about the attendees, and ensuring they have as safe and enjoyable an experience as possible.

Having a harassment policy is one of the many ways you can – and should – do so.