Whether you’re a small-business owner or a top-level manager at a Multi-National Corporation, recent high-profile sexual harassment allegations may have you a little worried. Some of the misconduct allegations outed recently in this ‘Times-Up’retaliation you might have heard about, might remind you of someone you know. What’s the difference between satisfactory behavior and workplace harassment?
Regardless of how big or small your business is, if workplace harassment is tolerated, it will lead to miserable employees, high turnover and low employee morale.
Here are a few measures to prevent workplace harassment in your organization:
1. Alter your management style
If you are truly dedicated to having a workplace free of harassment, your staff will follow your lead. Then again, if you have a harassment policy but don’t adhere to it, turning a blind eye towards the perpetrators and ignore complaints, your staff will quickly get the message that you aren’t sincere. Harassers won’t change their behavior and their victims will continue to endure or leave the organization for good.
2. Train yourself
In order to forbid workplace harassment, it’s essential to realize what it is. Workplace harassment doesn’t just mean groping somebody or allotting unethical and unjustified tasks with misuse of authority. It includes many other behaviors, such as:
- Offensive humor, jokes, photos, drawings, or inappropriate comments.
- Unwelcome contact of any type.
- Unwanted flirting or consequently asking someone out on a date even after rejection.
- Office parties with explicit themes.
Harassment doesn’t have to come from someone of the opposite gender. Harassers can be anyone your employees have interaction within the workplace, either inside or outside the organization. Take the time to learn about the issue, including the state laws that apply to you.
3. Have a sexual harassment policy
Depending on the geographical location of your company, this may be a legal obligation. But regardless, a sexual harassment policy helps everyone in your company understand what sexual harassment is and how it will be addressed. Your policy should include a process for conducting sexual harassment investigations, and it should have restrictions on supervisors dating their subordinates that report to them. Also, make it mandatory for people involved in romantic relationships to sign a ‘Conceptual Romance in Workplace Agreement’ (Love Contract).
It is recommended to consult an employment attorney to make sure your sexual harassment policy is complete and complies with all federal and state laws.
4. Training sessions for employees
Plan annual or half-yearly training sessions to go over your policy and state acceptable and unsatisfactory behaviors. Train all the authority people in the company to act befittingly if they observe workplace harassment of any kind or if anyone from the staff makes a complaint. It is sometimes advised to bring in outside consultants and professionals to present this training, but it is also crucial that you take part. This pass on a message to your staff that you take these matters seriously and they should too.
5. Set up a system and ensure everyone understands the process for reporting a complaint
Take all complaints seriously, analyze and act right away, talk to all the complaining employee, and document all your efforts regardless of the position of those involved. Try to maintain discreetness, but ensure that employees know that some facts may need to be shared to thoroughly investigate and address the issues raised by the complaint. If the investigation proves the allegations, take immediate action to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and overlook such practices or fail to take befitting action because the assailant is a company leader. In order to terminate the fear of being outed, establish anonymous channels of communications to issue or submit the complaints. Employees often fear persecution for voicing their concerns. Implement Your Safe Hub in your organization, a special communication channel that protects such employees with the power of anonymity.
Signup for Your Safe Hub now and protect yourself and your valuable employees.