How To Prevent Sexual Harassment In The Workplace: Everything You Need to Know

Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as any unwanted sexual advance or behavior in the workplace that produces an intimidating, uncomfortable, or unpleasant working atmosphere. Sexual harassment can occur when an employee is subjected to inappropriate sexual behavior. 

Data reveal that women bring the vast majority of sexual harassment accusations and prosecutions. But it happens in both cases. Sexual Harassment, therefore, is an offense with many layers of gender complication, professional situation and position, and personal bias and morals.

For a good work experience in the company, they must all help by providing a space of openness, comfort, and respect for all female coworkers. All of this is related somehow by an individual, and each house should have an initiator.

Why is Prevention Necessary?

Prevention of Sexual Harassment is to be regarded as one of the most important components of policymaking for a firm’s core value.

You have an obligation as a company to keep your workplace free of sexual misconduct. This is a legal requirement, but it also makes excellent financial sense. Allowing sexual harassment to thrive in the workplace will cost you dearly in bad employee satisfaction, poor performance, and penalties.

Sexual harassment is prohibited by the same laws that forbid gender inequality. The primary federal legislation that bans sexual harassment is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Furthermore, each state has its anti-sexual harassment statute.

Ways to Prevent Sexual Harassment at the Workplace

  1. Adopt a clear sexual harassment policy

Adopting a comprehensive sexual harassment policy is an effective way to avoid sexual harassment in the workplace. The goal is to guarantee that sexual harassment doesn’t occur. When it does happen, proper procedures are readily accessible to deal with the situation and prevent it from occurring in the future. Declare unequivocally that you do not permit sexual harassment.

Declare that any offenders will be penalized or fired. Provide a precise mechanism for reporting sexual harassment accusations to declare that you will thoroughly examine any complaint received. That company will not accept retribution against anybody who complains about sexual misconduct.

  1. Ascertain that employee and employer are aware of what sexual harassment is

It may seem that sexual harassment at work is self-evident, but companies must ensure that employees understand the kind of acts and behaviors that are unacceptable. This is about more than just extreme instances of unwanted physical contact.

It is also critical to educate leaders, supervisors, and employees on more subtle kinds of sexual harassment. These low-stakes actions or statements not only harm professional relationships and team culture, but they may also grow into more severe harassment if left unaddressed.

  1. Train supervisors, managers, and employee

Specialized training exercises for managers and supervisors should be held at least once a year, in addition to employee sessions. The training courses should teach managers and executives about sexual misconduct and how to handle complaints. Check out the Guidelines for Handling Discrimination and Harassment Concerns and further information on dealing with employee complaints.

Employee training should be done at least once a year. These workshops should explain to staff what sexual harassment is, explain that they have a responsibility to a sexually harassment-free workplace, go over your complaint system, and urge them to use it.

  1. Respond to complaints promptly and thoughtfully

It’s no surprise that many victims of sexual assault remain silent. The most effective way for an employer to breach the code of silence is to put in place an effective mechanism for addressing charges. Create a tool that allows employees to communicate their concerns in confidence without including the accused harasser in the process of reporting. Take every complaint seriously, and don’t dismiss rumors without providing them with the treatment they deserve.

A company can resolve concerns by holding a staff meeting to go through workplace etiquette norms in certain circumstances. Keep an eye out for activities that are just on the verge of being okay or not okay, and put an end to them even before they worsen. Other issues may necessitate a more official inquiry, the help of outside counsel, and disciplinary action.

  1. Establish proper complaints channels and raise awareness

Employees should be given many avenues to approach the influential grievance committee and make concerns. The directions must include Informal means of addressing complaints since workers address many problems successfully and favorably.

Educating is by far the most effective way of mitigation. Those who are conscious of potentially harassing behaviors are less likely to engage in such behavior and are more likely to recognize harassment. This brief survey will assist employees in determining their perspective of workplace sexual harassment.

  1. Appoint dedicated personnel to review any allegations

81% of females have been subjected to sexual harassment at some point in their lives. Almost three-quarters of those polled have been mistreated by a superior in their organization. Ascertain that the workplace has a committed staff person responsible for responding to any accusations of sexual harassment.

In a medium and small company, this is usually an HR person; however, in a big organization, there ought to be a member of staff committed to dealing with any complaints employees have (including all areas rather than just the area of harassment).

  1. Resolve matters appropriately

As businesses consider ways to avoid sexual harassment, it is critical to remember that these internal reporting systems are meaningless if the corrective and remedial procedures are ineffective. Victims will cease coming forward if complaints are not taken seriously, and offenders will not fear repercussions for their conduct if complaints are not taken seriously.

Depending on the severity of the harassment, remedial procedures may include a reprimand, training sessions for the offender, or both. A modification in working arrangements or a straightforward termination. 

  1. Report any concerns immediately

If you believe someone in your organization has been improperly behaving toward you or if you do have concerns about a coworker, express your concerns as soon as possible. Approximately 72% of victims of professional sexual misconduct do not disclose it.

Your company’s policy should emphasize the significance of secrecy so that you may express your concerns without fear of repercussions such as docked pay.

  1. Legalese should be scaled back

Just as negative message fails to resonate with employees, a heavy focus on sexual harassment rules and regulations may be a swift deterrent for employees. These concerns must be addressed for compliance purposes. However, they do not have to be the primary basis for your sexual harassment avoidance management and development initiatives.

Focusing on professional, polite behavior, on the other hand, is more likely to engage and persuade employees and supervisors than focusing on discovering legal breaches. As a result, although legal compliance information is needed by law, balance it with extra information and examples representing a stricter threshold: your business’s beliefs, principles, and philosophy.

While no company likes to accept that sexual harassment at work is a problem in their company, the sad fact is that it is all too often nowadays. Reports in the media also seem to emerge nearly daily, as one firm or notable individual at such a time becomes the center of news that may do significant harm to their brands (both from a consumer and staff side), among other devastation.

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Impactly’s online sexual harassment and diversity, equity & inclusion training packages are used by hundreds of organizations across the country. Impactly is powered by Get Inclusive, one of the largest providers of prevention and compliance training for colleges and universities.