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Why Is It Important To Prevent Harassment In The Workplace

Why Is It Important To Prevent Harassment In The Workplace?

Despite the fact that many businesses do not want to admit that sexual harassment in the workplace could be a problem for them, the sad reality is that it has a big effect. A harassment-free workplace must be established and maintained at all businesses.

Employers can effectively reduce the rate of harassment and guarantee a harassment-free workplace for all by adopting a novel approach to the prevention of sexual harassment.

Research closely associates sexual harassment with job dissatisfaction and disengagement. Other consequences of sexual harassment that affect the workplace are tardiness, absenteeism, project neglect, and employee distraction. A Deloitte study puts the productivity loss from sexual harassment at $2.62 billion.


Ways to solve the problem of sexual harassment at work are listed below:

  1. Make it crystal clear that the prevention of sexual harassment is a top priority for the company: In recent years, a lot of cases of sexual harassment have come to light. As a result, there is a growing awareness of the importance of taking proactive measures at work. Employees must be taught that these kinds of behaviors will not be tolerated in the workplace, and businesses must take steps to educate them. Harassment policies should be reviewed on a regular basis by organizations. In addition, they should frequently discuss these policies and the principles they uphold, not only during onboarding or annual training cycles but also throughout the year in meetings of the entire staff as well as smaller teams and in internal company communications and other venues.

However, not all communications are the same. Communications should not be tepid, according to research, in order to aid in the prevention of sexual harassment at work. Instead, they ought to include strong, unambiguous statements stating that the company places a high priority on preventing sexual harassment and that any employee who violates the company’s policies against it will be held accountable, regardless of their position.

READ: 7 Tips To Prevent Workplace Violence

Last but not least, in order for these communications to be truly effective, they need to come from leaders across the organization—preferably top executives—rather than just HR. Managers and employees will follow suit if leadership consistently and honestly conveys that sexual harassment prevention training is a top priority and will be taken seriously.

  1. Make Sure Management and Employees Know What Sexual Harassment is: Despite the fact that it may appear to be obvious, employers must take steps to ensure that employees know exactly what constitutes inappropriate behavior and actions. This entails more than just blatant instances of inappropriate physical contact. Making inappropriate sexual remarks, watching or displaying inappropriate content, and other behaviors and actions that are objectionable and undesirable are all examples of sexual harassment. Employees will have an easier time understanding how to avoid sexual harassment claims in the future if they are aware that these behaviors are unacceptable.

Educating employees, managers, and executives about the subtler forms of sexual harassment is just as important. If left unchecked, these lower-stakes behaviors or comments may escalate into more egregious harassment, which will affect working relationships and the culture of the team.

  1. Keep Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Positive: Employees do not like being told they are doing something wrong, that they can’t be trusted, or that they’re doing bad things. Employees may believe that they are a part of the problem if sexual harassment training focuses primarily on the negative—what not to do; that is, they will harass other people if they are left to their own devices. Instead, prevention research demonstrates that adopting a more upbeat attitude is a more effective strategy for getting the point across and involving employees in the process of fostering and cultivating the desired environment.

Positive messages that make the assumption that employees want to do the right thing are used. This is because most employees do. Rather than focusing on bad behavior and consequences to avoid, a “stick” approach that engages them to be a part of the solution to workplace harassment and motivates them to help promote a respectful culture can significantly influence employee behavior.

  1. Lighten Up on the Legalese: A strong focus on the laws and regulations pertaining to sexual harassment can be a quick deterrent for employees, just as negative messaging fails to resonate with employees. Yes, compliance demands that these issues be addressed. However, your efforts to prevent sexual harassment in training and communication need not rely solely on them because majority of employees are not experts in employment law, using case law fact patterns to guide daily actions and legal language as the standard which acceptable workplace conduct is measured can drive behavior standards to the lowest common denominator. It might suggest that things are acceptable as long as they are not illegal.

In contrast, focusing on identifying legal violations is less likely to engage and influence employees and managers than focusing on professional, respectful behavior. Therefore, while legal compliance content must be included wherever it is mandated by law, it must be balanced with additional guidance and examples that demonstrate a higher standard: the culture, policies, and values of your business.

  1. Employees should be tasked to Help Maintain a Harassment-Free Workplace: Human Resources (HR) leaders, managers, and supervisors cannot constantly monitor harassment. However, businesses can increase the rate that incidents or warning signs of harassment will be observed, reported, and addressed—or even prevented—if they enlist the assistance of their own employees. The solution to sexual harassment at work is not the responsibility of HR. All workers are involved. Also, employees can be trained to be good observers, supporting a culture of respect and positivity by:
  • Interrupting instances of harassment or its warning signs
  • Providing support to others who have been harmed after the incident
  • Officially reporting harassment
  • Encouraging others to be allies.
  1. Engage Employees as Social Influencers: Who are the employees who are most likely to listen to them as a reliable source? Their coworkers at work or their HR department? The latter, naturally. Businesses can use key employees as social influencers to promote a harassment-free workplace. Reach out to high-ranking employees to find out if they are in favor of efforts to prevent harassment and if you can get their advice on how to make training and communication more effective.


  1. Take Quick and Decisive Actions When Issues Arise: Employees will stop reporting incidents of sexual harassment if they believe nothing will be done, and employees who may cause harm may feel encouraged to continue acting inappropriately. As a result, it is essential for employers to respond promptly to reports of sexual harassment in the workplace, conduct an in-depth and impartial investigation, impose meaningful punishments as necessary, and inform the reporter that they have done so. Organizations are able to communicate generally about disciplinary actions and the firm commitment of the organization to holding perpetrators of sexual harassment accountable, despite the fact that they are frequently unable to share personal or specific information regarding these actions.


  1. Include training on harassment and discrimination in your workplace: Ask supervisors and employees to receive training on a regular basis. Provide annual or regular refresher training.


  1. Increase workplace awareness of sexual harassment: Awareness is the most efficient form of prevention. People who are aware of behaviors that could be interpreted as harassment are less likely to behave in that manner and are more likely to notice harassment in any form. The staff will be able to measure how they feel about sexual harassment in the workplace with the assistance of this brief assessment.


  1. Establish clear procedures for reporting harassment: All employees must feel at ease reporting any behavior that makes them or other employees feel uncomfortable. Employees have defended colleagues rather than reporting inappropriate behavior at work.


  1. Include employee welfare in review and appraisal meetings: These meetings are more than just a chance to talk about your employees’ achievements and performance. Instead, this is an opportunity for employees to speak up and report any staff members who have made them or their coworkers feel uneasy.


  1. Policy of zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace: Your company should have a policy of zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Regardless of an employee’s rank within the company, if they are found guilty of sexually harassing a coworker or other employee, they should face harsh punishment right away. A statement should be filed with the police if it is deemed necessary.


  1. Protect Yourself from Sexual Harassment at work: Staff also have a responsibility of protecting themselves from sexual harassment. These tips are helpful;
  • Know what it means to be sexually harassed. All employees should know what it means to be sexually harassed. Some examples include touching and any other form of bodily contact, such as scratching or patting a coworker’s back or grabbing an employee around the waist.
  • Unwanted flirting or repeated requests for dates that are turned down
  • Sending or posting images or emails that are sexually explicit or related to other forms of harassment
  • Placing objects, pictures, or posters that are sexually suggestive
  • Playing music that is sexually suggestive
  • Communicate your concerns as soon as possible if you think someone in your organization has acted inappropriately toward you or if you have concerns about a coworker.
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