Employers have a big responsibility to ensure that the workplace feels safe from any form of bullying or harassment. This is not only a legal obligation, but it’s always a good practice to maintain the business reputation as a safe place where everyone can work without worrying about anything.
If any form of inappropriate behavior begins to flourish at work, this can result in low productivity, poor morale, and a variety of lawsuits. The truth is no one wants to face sexual harassment in the workplace. It can be a humiliating and traumatizing experience. But unfortunately, it happens all too often. And in many cases, the perpetrators are never held accountable. So, what can be done to avoid these incidents from happening?
How to Avoid Harassment
Employers should always prioritize training and refresher courses about sexual harassment. Fortunately, some companies offer sexual harassment training online that will let everyone know the definition of the term and whether certain behaviors are considered in cases of lawsuits. If you’re an employee, here are some things that you can do:
1. Be aware of your surroundings and who is around you at all times.
2. Do not put yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable or where you feel like you could be alone with someone who might try to hurt you.
3. Trust your gut instincts. If someone makes you feel uneasy, remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
4. Speak up if you see or hear something that makes you uncomfortable. Do not be afraid to report any incidents of harassment to your employer or the authorities.
5. Keep a record of any incidents that can occur, including dates, times, and witnesses who may have seen or heard what happened. You can also save emails, chats, or videos that you’ve captured during the incident as evidence.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can include a broad range of behaviors and actions that need to be discussed by a qualified instructor. It can consist of an offensive joke about some genders, inappropriate touching, pinching, sending pornographic pictures, unwanted requests, forwarding materials, calls, and letters related to sexual acts, and making crude gestures which you can see more on this page.
Any unwanted behavior directed at an individual can be considered harassment. Most of them might be isolated incidents, offhand comments, and teasing that only occurred once. Still, when this happens too frequently, one might already be working in a hostile environment that will get them into trouble later on.
There are two types of sexual harassment, and they include quid pro quo and hostile work environments. Quid pro examples is when someone who has a higher position, such as a supervisor, asks for inappropriate favors in exchange for something else, such as a promotion.
On the other hand, a hostile work environment occurs when the workplace is so permeated with sexually charged comments or conduct that it interferes with an individual’s ability to do their job.
The harassment itself can be subtle or overt, direct or indirect. It can be spoken or written, physically threatening, or merely offensive. But no matter what form it takes, this unwanted behavior is always about power and control. The person doing the harassing is trying to assert dominance over the person being harassed.
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, there are some important things to keep in mind. Before anything else, know that this is not and never be your fault since no one deserves to be harassed.
Also, know that you have options. You can report the behavior to your employer or file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The training will provide the employees with the tools they need to recognize the signs of workplace harassment, and they can take action with the help of the human resource department to address the issue. Read post about the value of HR on this website: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/hr-add-value-organization-50980.html.
Other Examples to Know
- Unwelcome sexual advances or propositions
- Offensive comments or jokes about one’s gender
- Displaying suggestive images or objectifying someone with looks or gestures
- Repeatedly asking personal questions about someone’s life or romantic relationships
- Making lewd comments about someone’s body or clothing
- Unwanted touching, including hugging, kissing, massaging, fondling, or groping
- Attempting to force someone into an indecent act against their will
Avoiding this From Happening
You can do a few key things to avoid sexual harassment in the workplace. First, be aware of what constitutes sexual harassment. This can include unwelcome sexual advances, comments or jokes of a sexual nature, or any other conduct that creates a hostile or offensive work environment. If you are ever made uncomfortable by someone at work, make it clear that their behavior is unacceptable and report it to a supervisor or HR.
You can also take measures to prevent these unwanted advances from happening in the first place. For example, don’t engage in any behavior that could be construed as flirtatious or suggestive. Be professional and respectful of your coworkers at all times. If you see someone behaving inappropriately towards another person, speak up and tell them it’s not okay. Proper training and knowledge can significantly reduce these incidents in a company.