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20 Sep

2016

Are You Stamping Out Sexual Harassment?

 

A poll done by ABC News/Washington post found that one in four women has experienced workplace sexual harassment. One in ten men say they’ve experienced it as well — and a quarter of men say they worry about being falsely accused of sexual harassment. Overall, 64 percent see sexual harassment as a problem in this country, soaring to 88 percent of women who’ve been harassed. The statistics are shocking and they demonstrate that while we may have come a long way in recent years, there are still serious problems that are deeply en-grained into workplace cultures.

Reputable employers know that they have a responsibility to stamp out unacceptable behavior. But what exactly does this look like in practical terms? Here, we tell you what you really need to know.

 

Don’t ignore ‘banter’

 

Most workplaces have their fair share of jokes and lighthearted jibes. It’s vital though that you recognize that it’s never okay to make ‘flippant’ comments. Even if the person making the remarks doesn’t think that they’re offensive or serious, this is no defense.

It’s quite likely that that someone under your employ has been on the receiving end of unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature. The stance that you need to take here is clear. Tackle inappropriate behavior head-on, regardless of the intention.

 

Look beneath the surface

 

Perhaps you’re thinking that you have no problems when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace. After all, surely your employees would come to you if they were facing issues? Well, not necessarily. Shockingly, 4 out of 5 women who have experienced sexual harassment did not report it.

The reasons why are somewhat obvious. Often, the perpetrator holds a higher position and the victim worries about losing their job. So before you jump to the assumption that everything’s fine in your business, take a closer look at what might be happening.

 

Reinforce your standards

 

Of course, it’s easy to argue that grown adults in a civilized society shouldn’t have to be told that sexual harassment is wrong. As an employer however, you have a responsibility to make your standards absolutely crystal clear. Now could be a good time to roll out refresher training and ensure that your staff have a strong understanding of their role in stamping out unacceptable behavior.

Be sure that your staff know exactly what constitutes as sexual harassment. Communicate this in a robust policy. Also, outline how you will facilitate the process of dealing with problems.

Dropping the ball when it comes to tackling sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t an option. Neglect your duties as an employer and you could face employment tribunals, a fractured workforce, and a seriously damaged reputation.

If you’re concerned about issues in your workforce, or you’re eager to ensure that you’re meeting the mark, then we may be able to help you.  Give us a call immediately for initial advice around your circumstances and to find out what your next steps need to be.

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