Workplace harassment is a threatening behavior directed at a single employee or a group of employees. This belittling behavior makes employees feel scared or offended.
The approach which most companies use to deal with sexual harassment is not working. Victims feel they cannot report the incident for fear of retaliation. The human resources department believes it is obligated to protect the company. As the problem persists, onlookers become skeptical, and company executives declare that they have zero tolerance for harassment but make key exceptions for “valuable” people. The legal team uses confidentiality agreements and conventions to hide considerable problems. History repeats itself over time again and again.
If your business is in this trench, it’s time to change the culture. Businesses also need to understand state laws disallowing harassment, and they may also need to comply with these laws. First, let us take a look at different types of harassment employees face.
Types of Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment is elided with sexual harassment, but there are many types of harassment. Remember, this is the only way to intimidate or offend employees.
- Discriminatory harassment – of persons identified by protected characteristics.
- Bullying – including critical comments and social isolation.
- Workplace violence – frequent physical attacks on employees in public.
- Abuse of power – excessive or degrading demands.
- Psychological harassment – social isolation
- Online or cyberbullying – sharing gossip, derogatory information, or direct messages.
- Retaliation – seeking revenge in response to alleged negligence, including complaints.
- Sexual harassment – unwanted sexual move, misconduct, or behavior.
- Third-party harassment – being intimidated by people outside the organization.
The definition of sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual moves, sexual demands, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It can also involve offensive comments about a person’s gender.
Unless your company is aware of the possibility of harassment in the workplace, it should be a priority for the HR department.
Here are few solutions employer and an employee can use to avoid workplace harassment:
Workplace Harassment Guidelines for Employees
- Record all incidents of harassment including, the names of the people who follow you, their position in the company, and the type of harassment they face. First, provide the time, date, location, and name of the witness, and collect as much information and evidence as possible, because it will only help your case.
- Ask the witness to talk to your colleague and make sure they will help you confirm your testimony. If you are being bullied or stalked, others are likely to do the same. Unite and help each other.
- Stay calm and professional – Do not make rash decisions or do anything unreasonable. Take time to collect your evidence. When you have time to talk to your boss, he will be more expressive and provide you with more persuasiveness to make the case powerful.
- Schedule a meeting with your manager or employee representative, bring the event log and any witnesses, and practice what you want to say before the meeting. If your bully is your manager, consult the human resources department or supervisor’s superior.
- Make sure you handle your complaint well – The last thing you need to do is for the harassment to continue, or your complaint will be ignored. When you see nothing is done, you have the right to continue. Do not stop until your complaint is resolved and necessary action is taken.
Workplace Harassment Guidelines for Employers
- Develop a clear-cut, zero-tolerance, and anti-harassment policy
Work with HR to develop comprehensive and easy-to-understand anti-workplace harassment and discrimination policy that applies to all employees. Make sure to seek guidance from your agency’s legal counsel to ensure that this policy fully complies with local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
- Create a culture where harassment is unlikely to occur
Corporate executives have the responsibility to cultivate and maintain a culture in which executives and employees behave professionally at all times, including off-site and out-of-work meetings. In such a culture, there is no room for intimidating actions. Leaders have a responsibility to consistently communicate their commitment to providing work in a harassment-free environment.
- Create specialized training for managers and executives
There is no doubt that employees responsible for managing employees must be impeccable in all work environments; just as importantly, they can recognize harassment and make it clear that such behavior is never acceptable. They know and know how to respond to complaints of harassment, and they understand that both men and women can irritate or become victims of illegal misconduct. In some states, this kind of training is mandatory.
- Organize training and awareness programs for your employees
Everyone in the organization needs to understand why an anti-harassment policy is necessary for a workplace and how to communicate in problematic situations. Develop a training plan that all employees can participate in and make regular arrangements. At least once or twice a year.
Such training can include:
- What are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in the workplace?
- How to recognize sexual harassment?
- Steps to report misconduct
Just because a comment or an action does not bother you does not mean you didn’t offend your compatriots,” said Melissa L. Wheeler, Human Resources Consultant at Paychex HR Solutions. “What matters is not the intention but the effect of your actions on the recipient.
- Make sure everyone understands the process of registering a complaint
In the employee meeting and your employee handbook, clearly state how you will report a complaint of misconduct. In addition, make sure that everyone understands that strict actions are seized for each complaint, and an investigation might take place for the same if necessary.
- Use authenticity when allegations of sexual harassment are made public
Although, the above steps help limit future incidents, make a statement, sincerely. No one will believe you when you say – we take all allegations of sexual harassment very seriously. Instead, say: “We are concerned about the reported incident, and we are carefully investigating the facts that will help us resolve the issue.
What Should the Anti-harassment Policy Include?
- The anti-harassment policy can include an employee handbook or a separate company policy that employees must sign or endorse online.
- A brief explanation of how workers should make a complaint
- People can use multiple reporting channels to report harassment, so they do not have to describe the incident to the perpetrator.
- Easy to understand policy with appropriate consequences and sanctions for harassment.
- Make clear that retaliation will not be supported against complainants.
According to a PwC poll of more than 25,000 women, 52% reported bullying and harassment incidents in the workplace.
Harassment in the workplace is not only detrimental to corporate culture and its reputation, but it is also illegal to harass others. It is unethical under the Civil Human Rights Act, to harass a person because of their gender. This message has yet to be received by all businesses.
The commitment of business leaders and senior employees can create a working environment in which unnecessary promotions and other troubles never happen or are dealt with quickly when necessary. Reports of harassment in the form of a hostile work environment are unlikely to damage your reputation. It is good to conduct regular anti-harassment and other training programs for both employees and their employers to understand and act when it’s time.