Let us guide you if you are wondering how to stop sexual harassment complaints in your office.
Sexual harassment cannot be tolerated in any workplace, regardless of size. Employers must always keep an eye on eradicating sexual harassment; they must also learn how to prevent it from happening in the workplace.
Examples of sexual harassment include sexually-oriented jokes, sexually explicit emails and texts, and flirting repeatedly or requests for dates. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should address this serious issue.
As an employer, you must maintain a sexual harassment-free environment. It is not only your legal duty but also a great business sense. Not being compliant in protecting the men and women in the workplace may result in low employee morale, low productivity and even lawsuits. Before knowing how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, you first understand it.
What Do You Understand by Sexual Harassment?
Unwanted sexual advances, comments that are sexual, sexual favours requests, and harassment or comments about an individual’s gender, all of which create an adverse environment in the workplace, are termed as ‘sexual harassment. Most of the time, sexual harassment is committed by someone who holds a superior position over the victim, such as an employer, teacher, or supervisor.
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, whether a woman, a man, a higher managerial position worker or an informal economy worker. Groups like girls and boys in child labour, forced and bonded labourers, domestic workers, migrant workers and workers in health service are particularly more vulnerable than the rest. Job precariousness, inexperience and young age are some factors that make someone more susceptible to sexual harassment. Now that you know what sexual harassment is let’s learn about how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Getting more knowledge of types of sexual harassment will help you clearly understand how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Various sorts of sexual harassment can occur in the workplace:
- Offensive Jokes
- Offensive images
- Unwanted physical contact
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Sexual threats
- Sexual abuse
How Can an Employer Stop Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Given are five brilliant ways companies can use to prevent potential sexual harassment cases in the office.
Describe Your Sexual Harassment Policy in Detail in the Employee Handbook
Having detailed language and clear explanations in the employee handbook is the most important place to start. Although most businesses often have a small section regarding sexual harassment in their employee handbooks, all levels of employees should get a clear explanation of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct on the day of joining itself.
It includes describing what sexual harassment is according to your company’s definition. As every workplace is different, it’s crucial to establish and uphold your zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy right away.
Providing Proactive Training to Create a Generic Understanding
A third party like PEO offers workplace training, and providing employees with such training will give your team a more thorough understanding of sexual harassment. The training will help you to redefine acceptable workplace behaviour and set up the boundaries of harassment in the workplace. Numerous PEOs provide this type of training to reinforce the company’s policy.
The C-Suite Stars the Healthy Culture
Setting up the tone of the business and workplace in a company is one of the many crucial roles a CEO plays. For example, a good corporate boss may promote a positive workplace where harassment is taken seriously by setting a good example.
The complaints are made more frequently in organizations where the CEOs often remain disconnected from the day-to-day happenings of the company. To put it forward, it is crucial that the C-suite keeps keen attention and keeps the boundaries of communication open throughout the organization- irrespective of its size.
Investigate Trusting the HR Professionals
The cooperation between the employees and leaders is crucial, and they should not take all the matters alone. It is often observed that employees would not report the harassment issue to HR and instead choose to use personal attacks on abusers.
The outcome would not be good if the leaders were caught in the middle of engaging in a personal attack on the employees. Thus, the employees must be trained proactively on reporting to HR for sexual harassment.
Issues Need to be Addressed and Taken When Arising
Organizations must create an environment with transparency where the boundaries are specified clearly about acceptable behaviour and what’s not. Although it’s quite common that employees do not report an issue due to fear or embarrassment, it is crucial to find the source of a poor workplace environment and find the solution to the problem before it becomes a larger issue.
That is why a reputable PEO who understands HR policies and can strategically guide bosses and in-house HR teams in handling misconduct issues is required in businesses.
Understandably, no organization is immune from the issues faced in workplaces. However, it can be tackled to an extent so that everyone benefits by creating a zero-tolerance environment for proactive leaders.
How Does Harassment Affect You?
Sexual harassment does not only affect victims in the short term, and it also can have long-lasting adverse effects. These effects are far-reaching and affect the psychological state, physical health, relationships with family and friends, and eating and sleeping habits. For a deep understanding of how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, employers must know the grave consequences of being sexually harassed.
Sense of Guilt
Harassment is totally out of the victim’s control, but it tends to form victims feel angry, helpless, embarrassed, and disgusted with themselves. Victims often feel they did something wrong to cause the harassment, and this self-blame and guilt hurt the victim in the long run.
Appetite Changes and Sleep Disturbances
Victims of harassment often experience changes in their appetite and sleep habits. These changes are often interpreted as either increased appetite and sleep or anorexia and poor sleep. There’s no clear pattern.
Inability to Concentrate
Most victims of harassment will find it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Harassment is the reason why people struggle at work and can’t concentrate at work.
An Epidemic of Shame and Suspicion
Victims of harassment often feel embarrassed and tend to think about what they have done wrong in this situation, which is so tough to urge out of that dangerous feedback that the victim does not have to fall for her in a loop.
Increases Risk of Disorder
Believe it or not, harassment increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. It is because sexual harassment causes stress, and people’s emotions tend to raise blood pressure. Over time, this increase in vital signs can develop into cardiovascular disease.
As an employer, now you know how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Your foremost task is to check if an employee complains of being sexually harassed; they should contact the appropriate authorities within the company to promptly investigate the situation and take disciplinary action if necessary.
Victims stop speaking up once they think they are not being heard, and perpetrators take no responsibility for their actions. It enables employees to experience a comfortable and respectful workplace once again. Resolution speed and victim satisfaction are vital factors to keep in mind when resolving this issue. Those affected have to try to find prompt and thorough treatment.