Despite the reluctance of any business to accept the possibility of sexual harassment incidents within its premises, the unfortunate truth is that such incidents have extensive effects. News about these incidents involving one company or high-profile person after another are frequently reported in the media, causing significant harm to their image from both the customer and employee perspectives, among other destructive consequences.
The necessity for a harassment-free workplace is universal. Not a single organization can escape it. Regrettably, sexual harassment in the workplace has persisted for years. This is even amidst concerted efforts by corporations to provide training and enforce harassment policies. Here’s how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
For both legal and ethical considerations, maintain utmost transparency. When problems are resolved in secrecy, it may create a sense of insecurity among victims who may hesitate to speak up due to unfamiliarity with your resolution process.
Address abusive behavior openly. This approach not only encourages victims to step forward but also serves as a strong warning to potential abusers. While preserving the privacy of a harassed employee is a priority, publicizing the steps taken to resolve such issues is equally significant.
Employ Both Formal and Informal Methods of Discipline
In regards to maintaining discipline, there are informal approaches that can be considered before resorting to official proceedings. This might include obtaining an apology or guarantees that instances of workplace sexual harassment or misconduct will not happen again.
If these casual methods prove ineffective, it becomes essential to kick-start a formal procedure. This should allow both the person making the complaint and the one being accused of having the support of a union representative or colleague, with easy access to consultation for both parties.
Take Complaints Seriously
With your employees now understanding the definition of sexual harassment, its gravity, and the process to report it, it’s essential to underscore these through demonstrable actions. Regular training on the subject can inform your staff, a clearly defined policy provides a guideline they can adhere to, and treating all grievances regarding sexual harassment seriously reaffirms your zero tolerance policy towards such misconduct.
Reporting sexual harassment is a significant move for anyone. The obstacles they need to surmount to bring the incident to light are genuine worries based on real-life occurrences. Will they be heard and trusted? Is sexting a crime? What are the repercussions if the company or the accused retaliates? Many view reporting as potentially detrimental to their professional growth and consider it safer to stay quiet and deal with the situation.
Develop an In-depth Reporting System
Establish a comprehensive, yet straightforward method for reporting instances of sexual harassment. This procedure should be communicated to all staff and easily accessible, perhaps included in the employee handbook or company intranet.
Your approach to handling these reports must be equitable and transparent. No individual should be treated differently due to lodging a complaint. Confidentiality should be maintained in all cases. This is unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, such as involving law enforcement.
Act swiftly in response to any allegations of sexual harassment. Immediate action demonstrates your commitment to addressing these issues seriously and signals that such behavior will not be tolerated. A delayed response could potentially enable the harasser to continue their unacceptable conduct.
The essential strategy to fight against workplace harassment is fostering a culture where individuals are unafraid to voice their concerns, indeed, they should be more apprehensive of the fallout of staying silent. By devoting yourself and leading by example, you can make your workplace a secure and friendly space for every one of your employees.