Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
A company must be capable of providing a Sexual Harassment Training Program. Online Training will help the employees and staff to fully understand the importance of this matter as well as how to handle and apply it at work. Everyone must be knowledgeable enough to properly implement a Companywide Prevention Plan. And to do this you must follow these steps:
Step 1 – Do your homework.
Find a licensed and certified Online Training Program. Proactive sexual harassment training is vital to protect the employees and the company. Most states required employers to have their employees take this online training and it must be with a licensed and certified training program as much as possible.
Why? It is to ensure that the employees will have the right training that they need; and to be prepared in case the complaint reached court, the training program will be accepted. All employers are obligated by law to have a sexual harassment-free workplace.
Hence, having the proper training to obtain all knowledge about sexual harassment should be one of the company’s obligations.
Step 2 – Make sure that the training program has guaranteed 100% court acceptance.
This is to ensure the security of the company if worse comes to worst that the complaint reached court. If this happens, the supreme court will determine whether an employer is held liable for the harassment.
They will check every detail like did the employer provide a proper sexual harassment training program for all their employees. And if they do, does the training have the right standards and can be accepted by the court. This will not only save your company a lot of money and trouble but will also save your company’s reputation.
Step 3 – Ensure that online training is easy for all employees to access and use.
It will be more productive for everyone if they can take online training anywhere and at any time of the day. For example, Managers have more delegations at work than regular employees. Some will surely just squeeze in the training to their busy schedules. Therefore, if they can access and take their online training on a mobile phone, laptop, tablet, and computer it will be a lot easier for them to do it at their desired time and do it on their own phase.
Moreover, some companies might think that having this kind of online training will just be a cause of unnecessary funding. Aside from the fact that the company needs to pay for that licensed online program. The employees will be on training instead of working will already be a reason not to produce revenue for a couple of hours.
Hence, accessible online training that can be taken through phone, laptop, computer, and other forms of gadgets is a win-win choice for the company overall.
Step 4 – The policy must include provisions like:
If any of the contact persons whose employee should report the harassment case happens to be the harasser. The complainant should follow certain instructions. Things like this really happen and it is always our best option to have a backup plan. Make sure to include this in your training so that all of your employees will be at ease no matter what the situation may be.
If anyone of the employees whether a manager, supervisor, clerk, guards, or any regular employee inside the workplace suspects sexual harassment; they can report it as well.
Let’s be realistic.
Not all people have the guts to speak up and be heard. Some are just too scared to tell what is going on. Thinking they will be judged, or maybe just afraid and feel threatened by their harasser. Having this option for everyone will give them the power to help their co-workers. As long as there are proofs to back up their claims; they can immediately report it by following the guidelines for complaint.
The complainant can bypass her/his superior if he/she is the harasser. Though the standard operating procedure tells them to immediately report the sexual harassment to their one-up; still they are allowed not to do that in this case. There should be a specific rule on what to do about this kind of situation. Make sure that it is included in your company’s online training program.
If one of the investigators, Human Resources, or anyone included in the process of the complaint is involved to the complainant or harasser, remove it from the case.
For example, the HR staff who will handle the investigation for the sexual harassment complaint happens to be a friend of the harasser. To avoid any biased judgment and issues; let another HR staff handle the complaint. By this, everyone will be more sure that there will be a fair judgment. And your company will surely gain your employees’ trust.
Step 5 – Highlight in the training program that all of the information about the complaint is highly confidential and secured.
This is one of the reasons why a sexual harassment victim chooses not to talk. Some are just too ashamed to speak up. That is why giving them security and making them feel comfortable about your company’s capability of handling this serious matter is one of the main goals. They must trust the company first.
And knowing that everything they have to say will be kept private is important to them. Also, guaranteeing words should be written. Make sure that on the online training, your company’s disapproval of any form of sexual harassment is guaranteed. It will not be tolerated and an immediate response will be given.
A few helpful tips that you can add to your employees’ training program:
If an employee feels uncomfortable towards a co-worker’s action or just how they talk; they must tell them. Being honest and straightforward is a better way to avoid misconceptions. Each individual has their own identity and traits that others might find offensive or rude.
Therefore, if anyone feels like they are being violated, judged, offended, and mistreated; it is best to speak up. They must tell the person that they don’t like what they are doing. There is always a chance that an incident is just a miscommunication between different parties.
However, if the employee already lets the other person know about her/his feelings and thoughts yet the unwelcome act still continues; then the victim should follow your company’s guidelines about harassment.
Once an employee is certain that he/she has been harassed or is still being harassed by anyone inside your workplace; they must document it. It is not that you are encouraging your employees to make a move against your own company. This is just to let them know how to properly make a complaint.
Because no matter what they complain about, if they don’t have evidence to back them up; it will be hard to prove it.
Make sure they document:
Date, day, and time the harassment was made. The more details the complaint is, the harder it is for the harasser to deny.
Make documentation written and saved on their personal email. Not the one they use at work. This is to ensure that no one will know and change the information about their complaint.
If they have a witness/witnesses, it’s best to ask for their help by giving statements written and as well during the investigation.
Implementing Sexual Harassment in the workplace after the training
Provide harassment policy
Make a written policy that covers the clear definition of sexual harassment. Most of us know that sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advantage. But not everyone understands that it is not just always a physical act that makes it a valid sexual harassment move. It can be verbal as well.
Let’s set an example. John told Laura that it’s better for a mother to stay at home and take care of her child instead of working. This stereotype kind of thinking about women is very offensive. It is also a form of unwelcome comment about how women should live.
Other forms of sexual harassment are:
- offensive comments about gender identity
- flirting and telling dirty jokes
- gender discrimination
- telling condescending words to women
- unwelcome comments like telling someone she/he is “hot” or catcalling.
- The behaviors that the company finds acceptable must be written and explained properly as well. Procedures and employees should follow if they witnessed or experienced harassment. What might the result of an investigation be? Translate into commonly used language for everyone to understand.
Establish and implement a formal complaint procedure
It includes the name and phone numbers to whom an employee may complain. Aside from the company owner; it is recommended to have two or more people be contact persons to avoid any perception of bias.
Communicate disapproval of harassment
It is vital to train all staff and encourage all managers to model appropriate behavior to ensure they understand you intend to have a harassment-free workplace. Practice what you preach as they say.
Respond swiftly and decisively
The company must respond as soon as the complaint was made. Delays send mixed messages. It will also provide opportunities for further harassment and retaliation and weaken the company’s proactive defense.
When the company follows complaint procedures and the company responds by ensuring the behavior stops. Lawsuits are ripped in the bud. The teamwork continues unimpeded. And employees and customers feel comfortable in a safe workplace.