While we would all like to think that harassment does not have a place in our workplace, this is not the case. Instead of turning a blind eye and pretending it is not happening, this is the time to take a stand and do something about it. In addition to coming up with a plan for educating your employees about acceptable office behavior, you should also come up with a strategy to helping your employees who are the victims of harassment.
Below is our list of ways you can support your employees after harassment.
Provide advocates for your employees.
The best way to do this is to use a third party to mediate interactions between the employee and employer. While HR representatives typically handle these types of complaints, an employee may feel like HR will side with corporate, or whoever holds the position of power and was involved in the incident (which is usually the harasser).
Create a clear sexual harassment policy.
Be sure you clearly define what sexual harassment is, outline disciplinary action, as well as describe a clear process for handling sexual harassment for victims’ reference. Above all, you should emphasize a zero tolerance policy. New employees should be trained to learn this policy, and it should be reviewed semiannually on a company-wide basis.
Provide immediate support for victims and take all complaints seriously.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, only one in four victims of workplace sexual harassment file a complaint to HR. It can be incredibly difficult for a person to come out about abuse, as they may be afraid of being blamed or creating workplace drama. This should happen under no circumstances.
Train supervisors and managers to deal with sexual harassment.
A supervisor may be the first to hear a sexual harassment complaint; they should know how to handle the complaint and provide support for the victim, as well as know how to identify harassment when it happens. Equally important, as those in positions of power are the ones who tend to use their influence in order to harass others, be sure managers and supervisors know the repercussions of sexual harassment.
How does your workplace support staff who have been subjected to sexual harassment? Share in the comments below.