Managing Sexual Harassment In the Modern Workplace

Even though the problem of sexual harassment in workplaces has attracted the attention of employers and media, there’s no definite resolution for it in place yet. Fresh graduates who’re on the lookout for jobs are repeatedly reminded of the epidemic that sexual harassment has become.

Statistics show that even though a fairly equal ratio of men (13%) and women (19%) were subjected to harassment in workplaces in 2017, the registered cases for sexual harassment were 4% more in case of females than males.

Even though these reports paint a quite vivid picture of the professional atmosphere in Canada, a large fraction of the incidents of sexual harassment also go unregistered. Reasons for not reporting an attack or assault of a sexual nature can range from risk of job security to sexual and emotional trauma.

This is why it’s extremely important to manage sexual harassment at modern workplaces to make them safer for everyone.

Anti-Harassment Policies

Organizations need to restructure and tighten their anti-harassment policies to ensure that new recruits feel safe joining their workforce. The policy should clearly outline acts that come under the category of harassment and define harassment indisputably and transparently. Apart from making boastful claims about gender equality, and being free of discrimination, the policy should guarantee protection to victims and lay down fair punishments for perpetrators. The fear of accountability is often enough to scare potential harassers from committing such crimes.

Harassment Prevention Training

It’s not unusual to find incidents of sexual harassment occur at places where policies are very well defined. The issue then is not of clearing the professional image of the organization but ensure safety of the victim. Therefore, it’s recommended for employers to train their staff in self-defense training that helps prevent harassment. It’s important to make the training programs interactive for the workforce to ensure that the message is delivered clearly and successfully.

Handle Complaints Wisely

The natural outcome of anti-harassment policies and training is to expect a floor of complaints from past and present victims. Even though this is a sign of success if the victims are feeling empowered enough to voice their concerns, it’s a huge responsibility for the management to deal with it fairly. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  1. Rushing to fire the alleged harasser: give the case time until evidence is collected. Immediate dismissal might give rise to people faking it for personal vendettas.
  2. Blaming the victim: as a rule of thumb, remember that harassment is never the victim’s fault. Be sympathetic towards the sufferer and handle them with care.
  3. Ignoring the other side of the story: irrespective of how credible the story seems, give the offender a chance to defend themselves before announcing a decision.
  4. Ignoring a report and deciding prematurely: don’t ignore the importance of documentation. Record the accounts of both, victim and offender. .
  5. Jump to a conclusion: matters may not be as simple as they appear to be. Don’t rush into anything when deciding matters in such cases. Take at least 24-48 hours to get back to the complainant.

Are you looking for security services to monitor such activities at your workplace?

Guardmore is a security service provider in Edmonton and we have military-trained staff and video surveillance services available to make your workplace safe from harassers. We provide a full-service protection to organizations by enabling supervision at all times. If you require our services, contact us here.

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