Picture this: You walk into work and your much-older boss says, “Wow, you look nice today.”
It may not sound so bad, right? What if we added some facial expressions?
He eyes you up and down and smiles. “Wow, you look nice today.”
Are you uncomfortable yet?
At a time when more stories of #metoo are coming out, sexual harassment is becoming an even more serious issue than it already is. It’s bad enough feeling self-conscious walking down the street alone; you should never have to feel threatened or uncomfortable in your workplace.
We live in an era where men and women alike don’t have to keep quiet anymore, but that isn’t enough. We’re here to tell you how to stop sexual harassment at work and to help others do the same. To learn more, continue reading.
What is Sexual Harassment?
While you may have a general idea of what sexual harassment consists of, to make any changes you’ll need to understand it.
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct on the job or sexual advance that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working environment. This leaves many ways sexual harassment can happen in the workplace. Some forms of sexual harassment are:
- A supervisor implies to an employee that the employee must sleep with them to keep their job.
- Someone made uncomfortable with explicit sex jokes made by other employees or their supervisor/manager.
- Inappropriate touching or fondling by a coworker against their will.
- Being belittled and referred to by sexist terms from coworkers.
These are just a few examples of ways a sexual harasser can act. This person is typically the victim’s supervisor, coworker, or manager.
Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace :
There are many steps you and your company can take to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The goal is to make the environment for each employee comfortable and enjoyable
Company Policy :
If you don’t already have a sexual harassment policy, this should be your first step in preventing it in your workplace. Put this in your employee handbook with a clear definition of what sexual harassment is with a no-tolerance statement. State that any violators of the policy will be disciplined or fired.
Include a procedure on how an employee can file a sexual harassment complaint with a promise that you will investigate any complaint made. These investigations will be made fully with no tolerance for retaliation against anyone who does complain.
Train Employees :
Every new employee must go through some sort of training process for their new position. This is a perfect opportunity to include training sessions on sexual harassment for employees.
Each session will teach employees what sexual harassment is and that each person has the right to work in a sexual harassment-free workplace. In addition to this, go over the complaint procedure you have included in your employee handbook and encourage any employee who feels victimized to use it.
Train Managers and Supervisors :
Your new employees aren’t the only workers who should be trained on sexual harassment in the workplace. At least once a year, managers and supervisors should also have a training session that revolved around this topic. This must be separate from the employee training session.
Like in the employee training, make sure supervisors and managers understand what sexual harassment is and train them on how to handle complaints that are made. There are many guidelines to follow when dealing with complaints and it’s important to handle them professionally.
Monitor Your Workplace :
We know it’s easy to get caught up in projects throughout the day and only come out of your office for bathroom breaks and to eat. But, getting out and mingling with your employees will give you a better idea of how the work environment feels.
Discussing how they feel and asking for their input will also help create a harassment-free workplace and open the lines of communication between you and your employers. Every employee should have the opportunity to become successful without the fear of sexual harassment in their workplace.
Employee Responsibilities :
Preventing harassment at work isn’t only up to supervisors and managers. As employees, you have a responsibility to create and maintain a harassment-free environment while at work.
Understanding your companies sexual harassment policy and ensuring you and other coworkers abide by it is an important step to take every day. Though you may not be creating any tensions, it’s important to ensure you aren’t engaging in or encouraging them either.
Never assume another coworker is comfortable with crude or risque jokes and be aware of others’ feelings. Some people interpret certain behaviors as subtle yet threatening harassment.
If you are being harassed, confront the harasser immediately and file a complaint with your supervisor or manager. If the complaint goes unresolved and the harasser continues without disciplinary action, it may be time to find a lawyer.
If you see or know someone being sexually harassed, offering support, and encouraging them to speak up goes a long way.
How to Stop Sexual Harassment :
Learning how to stop sexual harassment will take a lot of time and cooperation, especially in the workplace, and there will always be a chance of situations and scenarios arising. The best way to stop sexual harassment at work is to lead by example.
Disciplining violators of your sexual harassment policy and ensuring there are open lines of communication between you and your employees will help stop sexual harassment and start creating a comfortable workplace. Taking complaints seriously, investigating, and offering support to the victims will go a long way to those victimized.
To learn more about workplace environments, relationships, legal policies, and more, explore our website. If you have questions or concerns, contact us.
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