How to Prevent and Deal with Sexual Harassment at the office.
Sexual harassment and misconduct at a place of work is something that has been focused on a lot of the media in the recent past. Unwanted sexual tension is scary and frustrating. It is not okay to go through this and the behavior should not be excused. The little bits of these cases you see on the news are not all and it is worth noting that they do actually happen more than is reported. If any of your employees make such complaints, you should not take the matter lightly but rather take swift and appropriate action. First of all, you need to have a protocol of ensuring that they do not happen. Not many victims have the courage to speak up about the perpetrators and you might not realize there are sexual offenders in your office because some are very good at hiding this. You need to be invested in fighting sexual harassment in your company and making the work environment safe for everyone.
When coming up with company policy, do not forget to add policies on sexual harassment. It opens up better channels for educating your team about the menace. The policy should appear in the employee handbook and it should be touched on regular during office meetings. The policy should have all kinds of sexual misconduct. Some behaviors like sending of images and messages which have sexual content in them, groping, threatening, catcalling and stalking should be highlighted. You need to define what sexual misconduct and harassment are too. You should as well highlight why the issue is significant the behaviors are defined.
This should not be done just because the law requires this but also to offer a solace to employees who go through this. There should be a protocol on reporting harassment in the office and also a clear outline of how the culprits will be dealt with. Inform your employees that sexual harassment is not just something you are fighting on your own but also that the law is tough about that as well. If the offence can be proven, it is okay for the victim to take the matter to court. If found guilty, the offender should be relieved of the duties and ordered not to come close to the victim. Office chatter can be easily passed as gossip but you have to pay attention to this chatter because it carries an element of truth in many cases. You would rather be cautious rather than sorry that you did not take action when it was necessary.