Nothing frustrates more in the workplace than sexual harassment. No one should ever go through such an ordeal. That said, the employer, supervisor, and managers need to take the responsibility of ensuring their employees are protected against such behavior. This means implementing appropriate procedures to deter sexual harassment, identifying such cases, and having suitable measures put in place to deal with the offenders.
In extreme cases it may be necessary to find a sexual harassment Lawyer, Los Angeles.
Examples of Workplace Sexual Harassment
You need to be able to identify signs of sexual harassment in the workplace even before the victim comes forward to report it.
You need to be able to identify signs of sexual harassment in the workplace even before the victim comes forward to report it. It would also help if you had an idea of how to handle such a case/situation. Here are a few examples of sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Sexual jokes and comments
- Intrusive questions and remarks about a person's sex life. E.g. A female manager asking a male junior if he had sex before coming to work.
- Sexual propositions. Frequent but unwanted requests for a date or sexual favors.
- Display of drawings, photos, and pictures of sexual nature - This could be as a computer desktop image or even a calendar.
- Messages and Emails with sexual content. Such can either be sent via a personal phone or the company's internal messaging system.
- Offensive photos and comments on social media. Employees being tagged in posts and pictures with a sexual nature or intent.
- Body movements, hand gestures, and facial expressions of a sexual nature.
- Leering at, or staring at a person's body suggestively.
- Unwelcome sexual advances, touching, and other forms of physical body assault.
- Male colleagues touching their female colleagues inappropriately.
Five tips on how to prevent workplace sexual harassment
Although the employer/manager needs to facilitate this, everyone is entitled to help fight sexual harassment in the workplace. Outlined below are five tips on how to achieve this.
- Educate the Employees
All employees need to be educated on sexual harassment, what it means, and behaviors that go hand in hand with the same. They also need to know of the steps to take if harassed sexually within the workplace. Sensitizing your employees also empowers them, giving them the confidence to take the appropriate measures/steps if someone else is a victim, or chose to confide in them.
Provide real-life examples of sexual harassment. Doing this helps those that do harass others (unintentionally) to stop doing so, and also helps those harassed to know when and how to draw the line. A good example of unintentional harassment is when someone makes a sexual joke thinking it is harmless.
You won't need an entire day to train/educate your employees about sexual harassment. You can have them enrolled in an online training course on the same. Among other advantages, online training makes it possible for the staff to train at will and pace, thus never have to disrupt their regular schedules.
- Educate Senior Staff Members
Educating the workforce won't help curb sexual harassment if their seniors aren’t trained as well. Ensure everybody in the company knows that they are responsible and answerable should anyone be harassed sexually. Make it possible for anyone, especially the senior members to report cases of sexual harassment they might have witnessed. In addition to this, everyone needs to know what discipline measures are in place should one be guilty of the same.
- Implement A Strict Sexual Harassment Policy
A strict sexual harassment policy should be put in place to help deter offenders from harassing other people. The policy should contain:
- Zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment
- Define sexual harassment – highlight that both women and men can be harassed by a member of either the same or opposite sex.
- Ways in which employees can make a complaint
- How complaints will be handled
- Punishment for the offender
The policy should be created to cover everyone in the workplace regardless of rank. Be sure to review and make necessary amendments to the policy to make it effective and practical.
- Design A Transparent and Fair Reporting Procedure
The reporting procedure needs to be easy and straightforward for the victims. That said, ensure everyone within the company has access to the communication channels that can be used, and that their privacy is protected. This can be through the company intranet or staff handbook.
Everyone needs to be treated fairly and indifferently be it the offender or the victim. With a transparent system in place, it will be much easier to resolve or even prevent such cases from happening. The staff also need to be assured of confidentiality when using the reporting procedure.
Any sexual harassment claim should be treated with utmost urgency and appropriately. One way to do this is by taking immediate action when such claims are made. This way, everyone will know you take such cases seriously, and that they are protected should they fall prey. Any delayed response only means the offender will continue harassing the victim, making the situation worse.
- Create/Encourage A Positive Work Culture
A positive culture in the workplace means everyone feels valued and, most importantly, respected. Encouraging a sense of community and appreciating/recognizing everyone also helps build positive relationships with the workplace. This reduces the risk of sexual harassment even farther.
Ensure everyone knows what values are encouraged, and what will not be tolerated in the workplace. Organizing team-building activities and other social events should also help reduce cases of sexual harassment.
When it comes to fighting/preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, the supervisor, manager, and employer need to take the front line in ensuring the workplace is safe for all. This not only educating everyone about it but also learning to identify even the slightest signs of harassment. Victims also need to be protected by making sure they don’t face any consequences after that.