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How to Deal with Sexual Harassment at the Workplace

How to Deal with Sexual Harassment
at the Workplace

Sexual harassment at the workplace is a common occurrence. Despite the fact that most people don’t know what exactly constitutes such acts. Even employers are not aware of how they can prevent such instances. We will first define it and then share a few tips for employers and victims to deal with this situation.

What constitutes the sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment includes verbal or physical conducts. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines it as: “It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” It can, in general, happen in two ways:

More authority— This type of sexual harassment occurs between the boss and subordinate because the supervisor has the authority to offer better service terms such as a promotion or higher salary. The supervisor can use this to exert unwanted influence over the subordinate.

Hostile workplace –It involves such actions through which employees can feel offended. Such actions involve touching, offensive jokes, sending undesired messages or any kind unwelcome behavior.

How to deal with the sexual harassment at the workplace?

Constituting a proper anti-sexual harassment policy is an obligation for employers. If it has been found during the investigation that employers have failed to take reasonable steps to stop it, they can be liable for the individual action. Here are some tips for victims to deal with the sexual harassment at the workplace:

Directly communicate to the concerned person
Whenever such instance comes to your notice, ask the person to directly communicate with the perpetrator and tell him to stop his actions immediately. If he persists, immediately inform the concerned authority of the unwelcome action.

Find witnesses
Try to find out other victims by the harasser. It may be possible that he might have done such things to others or a complaint might have been filed by other victims as well. This will help you support your claim during the investigation process.

Contact HR Manager
Apart from informing your supervisor, you should also contact your HR Manager. They will guide you to take the necessary legal steps regarding the incident. The Human Resources Manager should possess expert knowledge concerning sexual harassment and discrimination.

7 Tips for employers to avoid sexual harassment at workplace:

  1. Create a clear anti-harassment policy and properly communicate it.
  2. Ensure that your policy is included in the employee handbook.
  3. Conduct sexual harassment training and retraining for everyone.
  4. Adopt a zero tolerance policy for harassment at the workplace.
  5. Take any unwelcome behavior seriously if it comes in your purview.
  6. Define a clear process to submit a complaint.
  7. Define clear consequences for such behaviors.

Employees are valuable assets of a company and it’s your duty to safeguard them. Make sure they are treated fairly at the workplace. Therefore, it’s a good idea to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace. It’s not only your legal obligation but also a moral responsibility.