First of all, before we can talk about prevention, we need to recognize that there is, in fact, harassment in the workplace.
Harassment is a form of employment discrimination. It is defined as unwanted conduct which creates a hostile work environment that is offensive. It usually has to do with a person’s race, skin color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, age, or disability. In this case, you should hire an attorney from galliandefensefirm.com. This conduct ranges from physical assaults or threats to insults, offensive jokes, name-calling, or slurs. Harassment can also include unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors. There are also many other forms of verbal or physical harassment of a sexual or gender-based nature.
It is important to know that women are affected more often but that a person of any gender can be a victim. And the harasser does not have to be of the opposite gender — they can be of the same gender or sex as the victim. Furthermore, it can be anyone at the workplace, not just supervisors and coworkers. For example, they can be vendors or clients and any and all other people we often meet at work.
It is important to note that male-dominated workplaces are typically more unsafe for women and, as such, lead to a higher number of sexual harassment cases. Also, both men and women who have low wages or rely on tips from customers are at risk. In fact, an analysis of EEOC statistics has shown that the top three industries for sexual harassment claims from 2005 to 2015 were food services, accommodation, and retail.
Prevention of Workplace Harassment
To prevent harassment from taking place, management should adopt proactive measures in the following aspects:
The work atmosphere and tone are often set at the top. If all leaders and managers set the right example for others, harassment is less likely to occur. It is, therefore, their job to create and nurture an environment that does not tolerate harassment. That means clearly and frequently stating that the company does not allow harassing behavior, and communicating that policy to all employees.
It is not enough to say harassment will not be tolerated, but then do nothing when it occurs. It is often difficult for victims to report what happened to them out of fear of losing their job. On top of that, they can feel discouraged if the employer doesn’t hold offenders accountable for their actions. The company needs to enforce its policy any time an incident occurs.
Effective Harassment Policy
For a harassment policy to be effective, it needs to be clear and comprehensive. Among other things, it should include descriptions and examples of misconduct. The employees should know how to file a complaint. They must feel safe from retaliation. Aside from that, it is important to provide quick and thorough investigations. People who conduct these investigations need to be well-trained and objective.
Accessible Complaint System
An effective harassment complaint system encourages employees to report misconduct early. It also treats victims, witnesses, and others with respect. And it has to be accessible to everyone. This means, for example, that it is translated into all languages that employees commonly speak. Another important thing is to provide employees with more than one way to make a complaint. That includes an avenue to report complaints regarding senior managers. This is important as recent studies have shown a large majority of team members have major issues with their bosses.
Training About Harassment for All Employees
All of the things mentioned above are useless if employees don’t know about them. Regular training will help them learn and keep in mind the rules and the procedures for what to do when harassment occurs. They must also be fully aware of the consequences of misconduct.
Harassment at the Workplace by Third Parties
So far, we have talked a lot about preventing harassment among colleagues, but, as mentioned earlier, employees can be harassed by third parties as well. Women especially but also any other gender can suffer harassment at the hands of people they come into contact with. This happens a lot in schools, in the hospitality industry, and in sales and services.
Female teachers often have to contend with parents and students. Hotel staff have to deal with abusive guests and unwanted sexual advances. There are many stories of salespeople in shops fearing for their safety because the customers were stalking them. These are just some examples of what can happen.
Sexual harassment of women in the service and hospitality industry often goes unreported. The real situation could be even worse than statistics show. For instance, staff who work alone in guestrooms and other remote areas often find themselves at risk.
Of course, hotels and casinos want to focus on improving the guest experience. But recent reports and surveys of unsafe working environments for hotel staff have raised awareness of the employee experience. It has become clear that the staff need more protection.
Prevention measures adopted by some hotels include panic buttons for their employees. The panic button has even become a legal requirement for hotels in some areas in the United States. The employees can use these emergency contact devices in order to call for help if they are a victim of or a witness to a crime, sexual harassment, or sexual assault, as well as for other emergencies.
Final Thoughts: How to Deal With Claims of Harassment
It’s quite simple — take them seriously. Doing so protects not only your staff but also the reputation of your company. Moreover, it ensures that you keep staff and provide them with a decent working environment. Make sure all employees understand the rules of conduct, as well as risks from third parties which may lead to harassment. Most importantly, have clear and full anti-harassment policies and implement them on a regular basis.
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