Sexual harassment is increasingly becoming an important issue that every business leader and HR manager should address. In the workplace, employees should have peace of mind in order to function productively. Therefore, it’s important to know the preventative measures to stop harassment for a safer work environment.
According to the survey CareerBuilder conducted, co-workers have the most number of answers that performs sexual harassment against their co-worker, follows with Supervisor/Manager. Employees usually stay silent even though they have been sexually harassed due to fear of creating a scene in the workplace and fear of losing their job.
Every workplace should let all the employees know that they are all equal when it comes to rights and no one shall be neglected from it. Good thing, there’s a law existing to protect employee rights, the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from being sexually harassed, and from any types of discrimination such as in age, color, religion, and race. Once it is proven that the law has been violated, a company will face different types of violations and penalties.
Importance of Training
The more knowledgeable the employees are about anti-harassment policies, the lower the risks of harassment incidents. Training helps in prevention while offering full solution to the problem. It’s also an important component in an organization that is usually neglected by some leaders.
The following are the basic steps in order to create a harassment-free workplace culture through proper training:
- Define the line. The very first step to take in harassment prevention is to make it clear that your organization will not tolerate any inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Zero tolerance policy should apply to every level or department in the organization without exceptions.
- Specify unacceptable behavior through written policy. It should provide a guide for employees when reporting an incident of harassment in the workplace. Make sure the person handling the complaints will remain neutral while using appropriate knowledge to investigate the incident. Allocating appropriate resources is also important in addressing anti-harassment complaints.
- Provide ongoing training to all departments in the organization. Make sure entry-level employees to senior leaders understand the policies regarding anti-harassment in the workplace including discrimination. Focus on how they should report incidents and the right way to handle complaints. Training must be engaging and relevant so everyone will participate in the efforts of preventing sexual harassment. You can read more about it here on how training could help prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.
- Let your employees know about your expectations. Integrate HR technology into your company system that will allow you to monitor employee activities such as the most recent visit made to the policies or training program. You can use an auto-enrollment rule to make sure the policies are reviewed by the employees every year.
- Be transparent in terms of complaints and reports related to harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Understand what the HR investigation involves and how the cases will be resolved. If everyone is aware of this, they will all have a clear expectation for the proceedings and results of the investigation.
- Let your employees know that it is alright to speak up and fight against their harassers. They must always watch how their co-workers treat them and take a stand once their personal space and rights are violated. Make sure that your employees will never feel that they are just a burden to the workplace once they filed a harassment complaint and reassure them that they will never experience such bad behavior again from other employees.
It’s not easy to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace. But with combined efforts from the employees and the business leaders, it is possible to fight sexual harassment. Creating a safe and secure workplace could be a great assurance to every employee, and that could result to a better performance and a positive work environment.