In our open society, very few things remain secret for long. For many years, sexual harassment has been quietly swept under the rug; this time is gone. Claims of sexual harassment can quickly escalate, resulting in harm to your business. Anti-harassment training is vital to the continuing well-being of your employees and your organization.
It is crucial to have the right kind of training. Preventing sexual harassment begins with fostering a culture that rejects unacceptable behavior. This has usually been the responsibility of the HR department, but stopping sexual harassment requires a commitment at all levels of an organization.
Starting at the Top
Are you uncertain how to prevent sexual harassment? This article will help you learn how to build a harassment-free workplace culture. The culture of your organization reflects the values of your leaders. A healthy culture is essential if you hope to attract and retain top talent. There are several steps you can take to eliminate sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has several suggestions for reducing sexual harassment in their 2016 report, Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace[i],
Trying to prevent sexual harassment by making rules is likely to fail. Fostering an environment of inclusion is more likely to succeed.
2.Get the Information
Do you think that sexual harassment is not an issue in your organization? A sexual harassment survey is the only way to know.
3.Put Policies in Place
To stop sexual harassment, put the right policies in place, then train your employees on them.
4.Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
The right policies are just the starting point. Support your policies with adequate training and resources. This is the best way to demonstrate to your employees that you are serious about stopping sexual harassment.
5.Everyone Is Responsible
Every department should be responsible for keeping themselves harassment-free. Give your department heads the authority and power to deal with sexual harassment.
Training That Makes a Difference
The most easily recognized type of harassment is “quid pro quo”, where employees are expected to give sexual favors in exchange for promotions or other perks. Gender-based harassment, where employees of different genders are treated differently is actually much more common. According to the EEOC, nearly 13,000 claims of sex-based harassment are filed each year.[ii] Your training should emphasize that any behavior that makes an individual feel badly about his or her gender or sexuality is unacceptable, no matter who the perpetrators and victims are.
The Costs of Harassment
Stopping sexual harassment is about more than legal compliance. It has economic benefits as well. In 2012, businesses in America paid more than $356 million in settlements and court costs to settle sexual harassment claims.[iii] This staggering drain on resources is easily avoidable.
Every organization must learn how to build a harassment-free workplace culture. When your leadership dedicates the resources to create a harassment free workplace, the benefits are far reaching.