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3 Ways to Avoid '50 Shades' of Trouble at Your Workplace

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on February 12, 2015 1:50 PM

Your employees are going to watch movies, and most likely they are going to discuss those movies at work. And with the majority of movies, this is fine.

But judging from the book and early reviews, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is not most movies. And a workplace discussion of the movie could get as racy as the silver screen adaption.

In a time when even hugging at work can be cause for concern, and with all employers trying to maintain healthy work environments and avoid sexual harassment claims, the prospect of loose talk about sexually explicit topics around the water cooler could have bosses worried. So here are a few ways to keep the movie's steamy subject matter from boiling over at your workplace:

1. A Simple Plan.

Part of avoiding potential sexual harassment issues at work is creating a plan and policy beforehand. Upon hiring a worker, specific training and procedures can create a corporate culture that avoids harassment as a rule.

2. Keep Your Ear to the Grindstone.

Maybe Ben Affleck's character in "Good Will Hunting" misstates the adage, but you can take it to heart. As much as you can, be aware of and involved with office discussions so you can monitor and guide them in positive and productive directions.

If your employees hear what's acceptable and what's not from the top, chances are they will adhere to those standards on their own. Learning to spot potential sexual harassment before it happens can save you headaches down the road.

3. Don't Keep Your Eyes Wide Shut.

If an employee complains about comments or discussions, take the complaint seriously and address it immediately. Dealing with issues promptly and properly can keep what may have been intended as an innocent comment from creating a hostile work environment.

To learn more about avoiding potential workplace harassment, head over to FindLaw's section on Discrimination and Harassment.

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