Creating a sexual harassment free workplace must be a top priority for all organisations.
Workplace sexual harassment is illegal but unfortunately still remains a serious and significant issue in many organisations around the world. Everyone has the right to go to work and feel safe, comfortable, and respected by their fellow workers. Managers have an important responsibility to their workers, but we also all have a responsibility to each other.
Around one in five women, and increasing numbers of men, experience or have experienced sexual harassment at work at one point or another throughout their careers. There is a good chance that many of your peers and colleagues have been victims of workplace sexual harassment.
Here are our top tips for creating a sexual harassment free workplace:
As a manager, you must set the highest standards of respect, fairness, professional conduct and accountability at all times. Promote these qualities throughout the organisation to all workers, and encourage fellow senior staffers to do so as well.
Ensure that your organisation and all of its members hold each other accountable. Make sure everyone understands and reflect a zero tolerance policy for any kind of sexual harassment or behaviour. This includes jokes, comments, and requests, and any uninvited touching, exposure, or sexually explicit communication.
Develop, implement, and regularly review a comprehensive written sexual harassment policy. Distribute and promote it to all workers at all levels. Ensure that it is easily accessible for workers from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds, as well as workers with disabilities.
Provide regular mandatory training on sexual harassment prevention, changing inappropriate behaviours, and fostering a positive culture, to all members of the organisation. Evaluate and review the effectiveness of the training and offer ongoing information to all workers.
Take all complaints very seriously and treat complainants with respect. This is an extremely sensitive and difficult time for victims of sexual harassment. Ensure that your complaints procedure presents both formal and informal options. And handle all complaints in a fair, timely, and confidential manner.
Ensure that workers who make complaints or address instances of sexual harassment are not victimised or disadvantaged. Offer resources to local victim-services providers, human rights or anti-discrimination bodies, or the police in criminal matters.
Active managerial input plays a big part in addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. These incidents are highly emotional experiences. Managers that have the responsibility of dealing with complaints, and administering aid, must undergo training in order to handle them in a respectful and appropriate manner.
Workplace sexual harassment can have a serious and lasting impact on victims and also a damaging effect on other workers, the work culture, and the organisation as a whole. It is not only your legal obligation as manager to prevent and address sexual harassment, but a human obligation to the well-being of your workers, their rights, and the overall health of your organisation.
Our comprehensive suite of HR titles features the perfect training for you and your workers, including Sexual Harassment Training for Managers to help managers handle and prevent sexual harassment issues in the workplace, and Sexual Harassment Training for Employees to help workers avoid sexual harassment issues, and to help create and ensure a safe and ethical working environment for all members of your organisation.
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This content was created by Vocam and is intended to be used only as a guide and should not be relied on as formal training or legal advice.
As standards and regulations frequently change, all information should be considered by relevant local experts and authorities.