How to Handle Workplace Sexual Harassment and Cultural Change
It's impossible to have missed the news stories about famous people and business leaders who have been accused of sexual harassment at work. The #metoo hashtag, which has dominated social media platforms over the past several months, was created as a result of the popularity of reports of this nature.
However, how do these headlines affect employers?
In order to minimise any potential risks and liabilities, organisations should be compelled to make sure their policies and procedures are current, that their employees are aware of them, and that they are tackling the problem head-on (if they haven't already).
One in five women say they have experienced sexual harassment at work, but according to a Telegraph news poll, 58% of those have not reported the incident to their employer because of factors like intimidation and management's failure to address the problem.
owever, as a result of this issue being brought to light and women realising that they can win these cases, it is likely that employers will see an increase in
Initial complaints of sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and you must be prepared to deal with any situation of sexual harassment that may arise. Sexual harassment claims are expensive, they can cause significant harm and disruption to any organisation, harming both your employees and your company's reputation, so it is important.
In order to ensure that you are safeguarding your staff from all instances of these behaviours, you should be actively fostering a company culture that encourages employees to come forward and report cases of sexual harassment, whether they have been directly affected, witnessed firsthand, or heard through the office grapevine.
Additionally, it must be made clear to individuals who do speak out that doing so will not result in harm, as this is against the law and a victimisation claim could present another issue for your business.
Your company should implement the following reasonable measures to stop sexual harassment:
a thorough sexual harassment policy that is up to date;
a grievance process or step-by-step instructions for reporting a sexual harassment complaint;
training on legal requirements for management and supervisors;
staff receiving instruction on what constitutes improper behaviour and how to report it;
Encourage people to report incidences or possible risks;
thorough investigations that follow disciplinary and grievance processes.
It is feasible to address complaints of harassment satisfactorily if adequate precautions are taken and they are looked into professionally and confidentially.
Please do not hesitate to contact Cheryl at Human Resource Services at (07) 5530 1571 if you require assistance with anything related to this subject, including the creation and implementation of a comprehensive Sexual Harassment Policy or Complaints Procedure, conducting independent workplace investigations, or offering workplace training.