Whether employees are just doing their usual stuff at the workplace or enjoying their break during a company event, everyone must remain mindful of their colleague’s personal space and behave according to the organization’s sexual harassment policy.
By legal definition, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the document, “sexual harassment occurs when one employee makes continued, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature to another employee against his or her wishes.”
Preventing sexual harassment in the office goes hand in hand with workplace safety. It’s the employer’s responsibility to integrate company-wide protocols that observe the standards set by the government and local agencies. Also, strictly implementing rules to eliminate incidents that can reduce the morale and performance level of employees will likely make it easier for the organization to maintain steady output from each worker. With that, check out these few pointers to consider when faced with sexual harassment issues in your organization:
Improve awareness through training
Some states actually require organizations to provide sexual harassment training to all of their employees, regardless of their post. In California, the law states that companies with least 50 personnel need to provide supervisors with a minimum of two hours interactive sexual harassment training once every other year. In general, local authorities have always been encouraging employers to provide continuous training and reminders about sensitive workplace issues, even if some are not mandated by law. After all, the additional training should help site managers to improve their ability to identify and accommodate complains such as sexual harassment.
Adopt a strict sexual harassment policy
Companies must have a policy devoted to sexual harassment and must include:
- Thorough explanation of what sexual harassment is.
- Firm statement that no such behavior will be tolerated in any way.
- Disciplinary measures for lack of compliance.
- Clear procedure for filing sexual harassment complaints.
There are numerous steps that you can take to address the risk of sexual harassment happening to your employees, and while you may not be able to establish them all in your handbook, your organization must include as many steps as possible in order to maintain a professional and sound working environment for all.
Meet your legal obligations by addressing harassment accordingly
While it might not be possible to completely eliminate legal liabilities for sexual harassment on the employer’s side, the company must still take the necessary steps to prevent any occurrences. After all, the law does provide organizations with guidance on how they can meet their legal obligations. Also, liability will still be decided on a case-by-case basis and because of that, it’s important for organizations to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from happening under their watch.
If managers receive complains about sexual harassment, they must act immediately to investigate the complaint. Employees should also feel confident that their superiors are all approachable and are looking at take their case seriously. It can be a challenge for some individuals to step forward and report this issue, so a clear outline of workplace policies is needed so that the victims will not be intimidated and left out.