Recommendations for Addressing Workplace Sexual Harassment
The seriousness of sexual harassment in the modern workplace cannot be ignored. Studies have shown that at least 25 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment at work. It has also been established that the number of men experiencing workplace sexual harassment is on the rise as well. Sexual harassment at work affects both employees and employers. For instance, it can be detrimental to the employee’s financial, mental, and physical well-being. On the other hand, sexual harassment can cost employers in terms of legal costs and reduced productivity. Below are some recommendations that you can count on to address workplace sexual harassment.
Have a Policy
The first thing you must do to deal with workplace sexual harassment has to do with deliberately creating an anti-sexual harassment policy prohibiting everyone in your organization from engaging in sexual harassment. In other words, all employees must know what is and what is not allowed. The policy should also state the consequences of sexual harassment. It is also important to ensure that the policy stipulates how victims of sexual harassment shall be assisted in the recovery process.
Foster a Respectful Environment
The best way to deal with sexual harassment is to take steps that can help to stop it from happening. You can achieve this by having rules that prohibit people from using their positions to control or intimidate others. This is because sexual harassment has more to do with power than sex. For instance, you can prohibit members of staff from using profanity, terms of endearment, and telling inappropriate jokes or posting materials that promote gender stereotypes.
You have to be aware of what is happening and be watchful of the signs of sexual harassment. Visit employees regularly, understand their behavior, and take note of how they relate with each other. If you find potentially offensive materials such as photos or posters, ask the employee to remove them. If you notice falling productivity, increased absenteeism, and a change in demeanor, take your time to investigate.
Investigate thoroughly and Stick to the Company’s Policy
Document all cases of workplace sexual harassment carefully and avoid jumping into conclusions. Collect evidence from both parties and analyze it thoughtfully. If you do not have the ability to conduct such investigations and you don’t have a trained member of your staff to do it, you should hire an independent sexual harassment lawyer to do it for you. Once the investigation is complete, you should take actions according to your company’s policy. If harassment did occur, you can fire the culprit or apply other disciplinary measures depending on the nature of the offense and the company’s policy on harassment.
Overall, it is apparent that workplace sexual harassment is a serious problem with many far-reaching ramifications. To deal with it, it is essential for companies to have policies that can deter the behavior and help victims to recover. Get in touch with our reliable sexual harassment lawyer to assist you in achieving a harassment-free workplace environment.