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Published On: Fri, Jun 21st, 2019

Tips to Deal with Sexual Harassment at Different Places

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome non-verbal or verbal and physical conduct. Physical conduct includes unwanted touch, rape, and sexual assault and a strip search in front of the opposite gender. Verbal sexual harassment includes hints, suggestions, unwelcome insinuations, sexual advances, sex-related insults or jokes and offending comments with sexual hints. Moreover, there is no need to bear annoying graphic remarks about your body. You have to raise your voice for any sexual harassment.

Remember, no one has the right to start inappropriate and unwelcome enquires about your sex life. Unwelcome whistling by a person or a group is a form of sexual harassment. Non-verbal sexual harassment includes indecent exposure, unwanted gestures, and annoying exhibition of sexually explicit objects and pictures. If you are facing any form of sexual harassment, you can contact a qualified attorney, such as California sexual harassment lawyer. An attorney can help you to understand your rights and punish the guilty to stop these incidents in the future.

photo/ Gerd Altmann

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

This type of harassment may involve co-employee, members of management, supervisor, employer, and owner. Harassment can influence the process of dismissal, increment, training, promotion, the employment process, etc. Sometimes, seniors may promise sexual favors after sexual harassment.

Sexual Favoritism

This type of favoritism is common among people on an authority position. They promise to give rewards after getting a response to their sexual advances. In this process, deserving employees will not get anything because they believe in work. They don’t want to submit themselves to sexual advances. As a result, they are denied promotions, salary increments, and merit rating. Remember, you have to play a vital role to stop sexual harassment at work.  

If you are noticing sexual harassment, you should inform your senior management about this. Understand the seriousness of sexual harassment and try to save people around you. With your efforts, you can influence your senior management to implement and formulate appropriate policies. Moreover, try to help victims to deal with the outcomes of harassment.

Ideas to Handle Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Sexual harassment is prevalent in the workplace. If your employees complain that he/she is experiencing any types of sexual harassment, you have an ethical, employee-relations, and legal obligations to investigate the charges. The employers can’t take the one-sided decision. He/she should not ignore any complaint of sexual harassment and start an enquiry to find out the actual culprit.

If you (an employer) hears the rumors of sexual harassment in your office, you should start instigation for potential harassment. See the possible cases:

  • You may hear the gossip of sexual harassment from your employees.
  • Sometimes, noninvolved friends of targeted employees or another coworker can bring this incidence in your notice.
  • It may include an instance in which a victim tells HR about suspicious behavior. A person who witnesses sexual harassment can come to you for a complaint.  

After receiving complaints of sexual harassment from any source, you should not ignore these complaints. Take these issues seriously to discourage this behavior in your workplace. Employees often approach HR staff persons with their sexual harassment complaints. Carefully choose staff members for HR (human resource). There should be a friendly relation between top management and the rest of the staff. It will allow them to share their complaints without any hesitation.

Try to keep this matter confidential and start your enquiry according to law. You have to protect the rights of your employees. Ask your employee if he wants the assistance of a lawyer to pursue these allegations.

Steps to Handle Sexual Harassment

Before filing a complaint, you have to post the policies of your organization for sexual harassment. Inform all your employees about these policies. Clearly tell your employees that you will not tolerate any sexual harassment. Every case will be strictly investigated.

Complaint Department

Set up a special department for your employees where they can file their complaints. Your office should have a particular procedure to file a complaint. Everyone should know where to compliant and whom to meet to discuss this matter.

Offices of human resource can be a good option. Moreover, employees should have the opportunity to contact the company owner, president, and CEO unless they are involved in the harassment. A manager can be an excellent person to complain if he/she is not a harasser.

A Person for Investigation

There must be a staff member to own a complaint. The individual must have sufficient knowledge about an organization and people in a company. Moreover, he should know the history of your organization.

There should be an individual plan to cover critical situations and people to investigate the initial complaint. Current knowledge will become the foundation of your investigation.

Communicate with the Victims

As an employer, you are responsible for talking with the affected employees. A guarantee is necessary for him/her that he/she will be safe from retaliation. You have to take appropriate action in reporting a general situation or incident. Avoid any biased behavior during the investigation because results may vary.

Ask employees to immediately inform about ongoing harassment, purported retaliation, and any other kind of reprisals. He/she should tell you the entire story in his/her words. Carefully listen to their story and take important notes. You have to document this conversation thoroughly. Mention relevant facts like witnesses, situations, times, dates, and other relevant information.

Start an Investigation

You should tell an accused person that a complaint is filed. Moreover, you will not bear any unethical actions or retaliation. Ask the victims to have patience because the investigation process may need more time. Promise a victim for a just and fair investigation on his/her behalf.

It is essential to interview the person accused of harassment. Use a respectful approach for investigation and listen carefully. You can’t take sides without investigating the matter. A list of questions is necessary for both parties. Use a similar approach for investigation. You will get facts with open-ended questions. With these facts, it will be easy for you to refute or support allegations of an employee.

Take Assistance from an Attorney

After collecting the necessary information, analyze this data from different angles before reaching a decision. Try to make the best decision after consulting your HR colleagues. Feel free to share this information with an attorney like California sexual harassment lawyer. An attorney will help you to take a fair decision based on the evidence.

Based on the advice from attorney, colleagues, and documentation, you should make a crucial decision about sexual harassment. Provide adequate discipline to the right people based on essential findings. Make assignment and work setting adjustments. Feel free to change a reporting assignment.

Remember, you are not perfect; therefore, a comprehensive investigation is not possible. Allegations of harassment can be true or false. Sometimes, an investigation can be complicated because you don’t have a witness or facts to corroborate the statement of the complainant.

Take strict actions to stop these incidents in the future. Stay connected with the employee who made harassment claims. Manage documentation of this case. Reasonably adjust the atmosphere of your house for productivity and comfort.

Measures to Stop Sexual Harassment

The employer should avoid the appearance and possibility of complaints by setting up strict policies. Immediately respond to these types of complaints. Ethically, the owner is responsible for saving his/her employees from harassment. He/she should stop this behavior in the workplace. In these cases, the fair treatment, morale, and trust of employees will be at stake. The actions of the employer should send powerful signals to harassers that you would not tolerate this behavior.

It will increase the trust of employees on you and your team. Feel free to consider reiterating and reposting policies of sexual harassment at your workplace. Check the circumstances before taking any decision. Maintain accurate documentation to increase your trust among employees. Remember, if employees are not happy with your investigation, they can take legal action against you.

Recognize the Events of Sexual Harassment

Victims of sexual harassment often feel uncomfortable or intimidated while confronting a harasser. They often don’t report the incidents of harassment because of their fear. In these circumstances, your employees will find it challenging to work. As an employer, you must identify harassment and take necessary action.

Maintain a friendly relation with your employees. They should not hesitate to share their fears with you. Clearly explain the process of filing complaints about sexual harassment. Instruct human resources and supervisor to talk to the people politely. Carefully listen to each word and document everything without any modification. The enquiry committee will use this information to investigate the matter.

Right Time to Speak up

Socializing, bantering, and joking is common in the workplace. If you are feeling uncomfortable with someone’s comments or behavior. You must clearly explain the types of unacceptable behaviors. Ask your coworkers to stop this behavior. Immediately communicate with the harasser to inform him/her about unwelcoming behavior. Remember, you can’t ignore these events. If your warnings are not working, immediately inform higher authorities to stop these events. Take legal actions if this behavior continues.

Write down the details of harassment along with the date, location, and name of witnesses. If possible, get a written account of witnesses. It will help you to prove your points.   

Author: Michael Wright

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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