How To Address Harassment: Harassment Redressal Strategies

How To Address Harassment: Harassment Redressal Strategies

The Facts

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Robust anti-harassment workplace culture should be able to answer the question of how to address harassment. Both employers and employees share equal responsibilities in terms of handling sexual harassment or other harassment issues at the workplace.

Employers' Tactics for Settling Complaints 

It can be difficult for an employer to know how to address harassment when they discover inappropriate or harassing behavior in their workplace, whether or not it satisfies the legal requirement for harassment. 

The revelation should be taken seriously. Bullying, intimidation, and touching without consent are all examples of non-consensual touching, mocking, bullying, or stereotyping based on a protected group are all examples of behavior that might create a hostile work environment.

It is the employer's responsibility to deal with any harassment that has occurred, put an end to it, and stop this from reoccurring. It's also critical not to simply wait until harassment has become "reasonably foreseeable" before acting. Failure to cease harassment towards a worker may expose the employer to potential liability, as well as personal liability for management or supervisor. A single complaint or investigation could be a red flag that further employee training is needed.

Recommended Practices on the Part of the Company

How an employer receives, processes, and resolves a single internal harassment complaint is probably to exert an influence on all workers' faith in their workplace. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Conduct detailed investigations into accusations of harassment as soon as possible.
  • All proceedings should be conducted in the same manner, and employees should be treated impartially.
  • Ensure that complaints are investigated by someone with relevant training and expertise, like an HR officer or an attorney, rather than a direct supervisor (whenever possible). When the investigator is an inside professional, they must be impartial and balanced.
  • Encourage all employees to engage in the investigation by emphasizing that retaliation towards no one who cooperates with a probe is illegal.
  • If essential, use your authority to place employees on paid leave to protect those who have complained of harassment.
  • Ensure that the accused is treated properly, the appellant is respected, and that the process follows any established rules.
  • Imposing disciplinary or remedial action, relocation, relegation, or making harassers attend specialized training or counseling sessions are among alternatives to consider for dealing with a harasser's behavior and preventing potential harassment. The purpose is to put an end to the harassing behavior.

Strategies to ensure an Anti-harassment Work Culture 

As prevention is better than cure, certain strategies can ensure the occurrence and recurrence of harassment issues at the workplace. The following points can be considered to help flourish a healthy workplace environment and address harassment.

  • Devote resources to the long-term and continuous implementation of equality and inclusion policies, particularly in conducting training programs.
  • To identify opportunities for improvement, undertake workplace evaluations or employee attitude surveys.
  • Create and implement a thorough harassment prevention strategy.
  • Hold oneself and other leaders responsible for aggressively prohibiting all misconducts and responding to employee complaints or concerns effectively.
  • Supervisors and managers should be educated on how to recognize and respond to a deviant behavior that could develop to harassment, as well as their legal obligations if they receive a complaint and how to probably avoid vengeance against employees who report harassment.
  • Communicate a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, and demonstrate it in your behavior and approach towards all employees.

Features of the Robust Anti-harassment Policy

The following elements are included in a thorough harassment prevention program:

  • Accountability, dedication, and management.
  • Practices and methods that assist workers in creating a healthy work environment for everyone.
  • Harassment prevention strategies that are discussed and maintained
  • A clear definition of sexual harassment is essential. Giving examples of what could be considered sexual harassment will help to define your policy.
  • Anti-harassment education for everyone, including prosocial behavior and communication skills for avoiding harassment.
  • Civil discourse training in the workplace that develops a healthy workplace norm
  • Each stage of the procedure for filing a complaint should be clearly stated. The procedure for conducting the investigation should be outlined as well.
  • Confidentiality of the sexual harassment victims should be trying maintained as they frequently feel humiliated about their experiences. Make things easier for yourself by promising the highest level of confidentiality. However, you cannot guarantee complete anonymity because you may be required to divulge material to law enforcement or litigation attorneys, as well as other management personnel.
  • It must incorporate information on federal and state legislative requirements involving sexual harassment, as well as the legal remedies to victims of harassment and a notification that local laws may apply.
  • It should clearly mention that it is unlawful to retaliate against persons who report sexual harassment or testify or assist in any investigation or procedure concerning harassment.

Responsibility on the Part of Employees

Presenting the cases of harassment also needs the responsibility to be taken by the victim as well as the coworkers. Few undertakings can go a long way:

  • You have a responsibility to inform your employer if you've been harassed at work. Figure out if your company has a harassment policy. The policy should state who in your firm is in charge of dealing with harassment complaints.
  • In case you witness someone being harassed at work, you should report it to the concerned authority. You can also notify the harasser that his or her actions are not amusing and must be stopped. Don't laugh at the harasser's behavior or give him or her an audience, as this will just encourage more harassment.
  • Be cautious and observant of potential workplace sexual harassment practices or situations.
  • Sensitive individuals who may be offended by others' verbal and nonverbal actions should be considered. Keep an eye out for and discourage sexual practices that negatively impact your job.
  • You should be aware of your federal law. The law protects you against job discrimination and harassment, whether it occurs on or off the workplace or time.
  • Furthermore, document all the events. Keep meticulous records of everything that occurs in your scenario. Make a list of who said or did what, when it happened, and who might have witnessed it. Include all events, and organize your notes chronologically so you can refer back to them if necessary.
  • Evidence like emails, text messages, images, handwritten notes, and any other documents that may be relevant to your harassment lawsuit should be saved.
  • Be cautious, meticulous, and take coercive action as soon as possible.

Explore any complaints regarding unacceptable behavior as a rationale and possibility to evaluate your work atmosphere, recognize established patterns, and see whether changes to how your employees interact in the office and with one another are needed. Do not scoff at an employee who complains about behavior deemed to be neither harassing nor inappropriate. Appreciate for speaking up, and making sure that all the employees feel that they are working in a good and fair environment. Along with the employees, the awareness and necessary actions taken by the victim as well as the coworkers can prove to be a milestone in answering how to address harassment.

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