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Sheryl SandbergFacebook’s policy makes it clear that “I was joking” or “I didn’t mean it that way” are not defenses to allegations of harassment.Allison Shelley / Stringer / Getty Images

• On Friday, Facebook publicly released its internal anti-harassment policy on its website.

• The post breaks down the tech giant’s processes when it comes to investigating harassment claims. 

• In a statement, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and VP of people Lori Goler pushed for more transparency surrounding harassment policies in the business world.


On Friday, Facebook publicly released its internal policy on harassment.

In a post authored by COO Sheryl Sandberg and VP of people Lori Goler, the two execs wrote that they were publicizing their policies and processes, “not because we think we have all the answers, but because we believe that the more companies are open about their policies, the more we can all learn from one another.”

On its website, Facebook lists tips for making the most of anti-harassment training, information about how the company conducts internal investigations, and examples of workplace harassment like “derogatory or insensitive jokes, pranks, or comments,” “slurs or epithets,” and “unwelcome sexual advances or invitations.”

The policy states, “‘I was joking’ or ‘I didn’t mean it that way’ are not defenses to allegations of harassment. Nor is being under the influence of alcohol or other substances.”

Employees can report incidents via HR, the company’s employment law team, or a whistleblower hotline, while managers must report violations and suspected violations “and will be subject to discipline for failing to timely report.”

Once a complaint has been filed, investigators from the company’s people team reach out to employees via email to schedule meetings. Two members of the team meet with employees called upon over the course of the investigation — one investigator takes notes, and one asks questions. The results of the investigations include termination, education, counseling, warnings, and no action.

“There’s no question that it is complicated and challenging to get this right,” Sandberg and Goler wrote. “We are by no means perfect, and there will always be bad actors.”

Sandberg has previously opened up about being sexually harassed over the course of her career. She described one incident when a man she met at a conference banged on her hotel door demanding to be let in until she called security, Business Insider reported. She added she had never been harassed by anyone she worked for.

In their statement, Sandberg and Goler added that it’s crucial for companies to be transparent about their policies going forward: “We don’t have everything worked out at Facebook on these issues, but we will never stop striving to make sure we have a safe and respectful working environment for all our people.”

You can read Sandberg’s Facebook post announcing the policy here:

If you have experienced harassment in the workplace and wish to share your story, email careers@businessinsider.com.

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