How to stop sexual harassment?

How to stop sexual harassment?

The Facts

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Organizations are focusing on how to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. According to a study, there are 81% of women and 43% of men are sexually harassed or assaulted in any form of them in their lifetime. Sexual harassment is making another person uncomfortable or humiliated and making requests for sexual favors or any other unwelcoming way, which can either be in the form of verbal or physical. Such things affect an individual's work performance and create an offensive working environment.

Many studies have found that most women end up quitting their job after getting harassed sexually or assaulted in any other form, causing organizations to hire new employees frequently. This degrades their values if they don't eliminate the sexual harassment or take strict action against it.

What are the kinds of sexual harassment?

There are three kinds of sexual harassment, including:

  1. Verbal harassment

It is a kind of abuse that involves graphic comments, sexual propositions, or inappropriate body movements, making the other person excruciate. Here are a few things which fall under verbal harassment:

  • Whistling at someone
  • Making sexual jokes 
  • Spreading lies about someone's sex life 
  • Make the kissing sound or howling 
  • Making sexual jokes 
  • Commenting sexually on someone's body 
  • Asking about sexual fantasies 
  • Associating work with sexual topics 
  • Make sexual comments on someone's look or their clothing. 
  1. Visual harassment

It is a situation where the individual flashes things to the other person without their consent. It includes:

  • Checking someone out 
  • Blocking paths 
  • Making sexual gestures 
  • Sending sexual images without the other person knowing 
  • Staring at someone's body 
  • Exposing somebody's private pictures 
  • Following them 
  1. Physical harassment

This is an act where someone touches you inappropriately against your will. It makes the victim feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. Physical harassment includes:

  • Sexual assault
  • Grabbing inappropriately 
  • Brushing your body on someone else's
  • Hugging someone in a wrong manner 
  • Touching a person's hair or body 
  • Standing too close, etc.

How to stop sexual harassment at the workplace?

Businesses suffer if they are accountable for the act done under their supervision. For instance, employers in a company can be liable for any form of sexual harassment committed by their employees and have to defend themselves only if employers show that they have taken reasonable actions to prevent any sort of harassment. 

Here are a few things that can help stop sexual harassment:

  • Involve the management

The board and CEO of the organization should have zero-tolerance against harassment. They must take serious action and make it clear that the punishment for the same applies to the whole organization regardless of their title. The board should regularly review the data on sexual harassment. For instance, keep a record of how many harassment cases are reported and how long it takes to resolve those cases. They should also approve an anti-harassment policy and include training courses related to sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Ensure that employees have access to confidential reporting channels

Everyone in the organization must know about the reporting channels where they can report their issues while keeping their identity anonymous. It can be challenging for investigation, but the reporter feels safe and can be comfortable in sharing more information. 

  • Have anti-harassment policies

It is mandatory to have an anti-harassment policy in each organization; it is their duty to make sure that all the employees know about it and have signed it. The main objective of having an anti-harassment policy is to eliminate any kind of harassment, sexual or verbal. Deal with any kind of harassment in a sensitive, prompt, and unbiased manner. Also, encourage and promote free of harassment workplaces.

  • Make training lessons mandatory

Education has safeguarded inappropriate behavior and empowered those who have faced sexual harassment and reported the case. Training helps build a safe community within the workplace where everyone works towards the same goal. There should be a demo of how other employees should react when they see someone harassed in a workplace or even outside. 

  • Don't wait for an employee to report 

Be proactive and include questions in your survey whether the employees have seen an act of sexual harassment and whether they have reported it or not. Taking immediate actions reflects on a company's reporting program. 

How to report a sexual harassment case?

Report the case, and the committee will initiate the investigation within ten working days. Either party might be asked to attend the meetings, and a decision will be made based on the discussion. The action taken will be notified to the complainant within five working days after the final meeting. If either party is not satisfied with the final verdict, they can request the Managing Director to reconsider the decision and come to a final decision. 

The company's job is not to victimize the sufferer and not discriminate against while dealing with the complaint. The victim can either transfer or can discuss with HR regarding the transfer of the preparator. While the whole process continues, the complainant's identity is kept anonymous to prevent their discomfort. If some third-party person does the harassment, necessary actions will be taken. The victim is granted leave and provided an option to transfer to a related company's business or stay in the same department. 

What is hostile environment sexual harassment?

A hostile work environment is where the act of sexual harassment occurs when an employee is asked for sexual favors or any verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature which interferes with their work performance by creating an intimidating and offensive work environment. People often confuse themselves with Quid Pro Quo harassment and hostile work environments. Quid Pro Quo is a kind of harassment wherein you have to do something in exchange for forgetting something. Such as being pressured to get sexually involved with your supervisor to get a promotion. At the same time, a hostile work environment occurs when an employee's work atmosphere is abusive or hostile due to their coworkers. Certain factors determine whether an environment is hostile or not.

  • Any kind of sexual harassment-people can't comment on your gender or sexual orientation and make fun of someone based on their race. This increases the hostility of your workplace.
  • Biases often foster a hostile workplace. Discrimination is illegal in some countries. Discrimination can be of many sorts. For example, a company doesn't hire anyone who is aged above thirty-five years, or they don't hire anybody from overseas.
  • It is common for colleagues to make healthy jokes, but the moment the other person starts getting uncomfortable or embarrassed, it is a sign of a hostile environment.
  • Consistent aggression in some employees is unacceptable after a point. For instance, yelling at your assistant for something as small as forgetting to bring you a cup of coffee.
  • If the employees are filing a complaint and the supervisors take no action or talk about punishing, something is wrong.

The bottom line

To conclude, sexual harassment is a crucial issue, and if left unnoticed, it can cause a lot of problems for the victim's personal and professional life. Thus, make sure that when you face the situation, raise your voice, take all the necessary actions, and make the preparator accountable for their actions. Greater awareness of sexual harassment and more proactive company involvement should help minimize the occurrence of sexual harassment and the damage it causes.

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