Every now and then, stories about sexual harassment take the media by storm but unfortunately, this is not a new topic to a lot of employees all around the world. In the US alone, there are nearly 50,000 sexual harassment cases recorded each year. This doesn’t include the more than 75% that go unreported.
We’ve put together 4 important steps an employer should take to prevent things going from okay to over the line:
Define Sexual Harassment
Make it clear to every employee what exactly sexual harassment means. What boundaries can’t be crossed, what forms of sexual harassments exist, and why it is not tolerated in the workplace. It may be a common sense for some people, but there are always employees who do not know when their comments or even physical contact become uncomfortable for colleagues.
Establish a Clear Anti-Harassment Policy
The EEOC’s position is that it is necessary for every employer to lay a foundation of a written no-harassment policy. The policy should clearly explain the kinds of manner that is prohibited. In addition to that, make sure that the policy includes the right provisions. You can use this document from the EEOC as guidelines.
Organization Training and Awareness Programs
Provide educational and informative trainings and awareness programs about this topic on a regular basis. This will cut the taboo of silence which often encircles cases around sexual harassment. What is more, having open communication and guidance about the topic will help your employees to find their voice and speak up about the issue. By openly talking about the issues, it not only educates the employees who are frequently harassing their coworkers, it also creates a safe environment so that an employee can report negative behavior safely and comfortably.
Provide a Mechanism for Addressing Sexual Harassment
You must keep in mind that addressing sexual harassment should be handled delicately. It is essential to guarantee a complete confidentiality to the addresser. Make sure that everyone at your workplace understands that each complaint is taken seriously and will be taken under investigation if necessary.