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Understanding and Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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The corporate world has come a long way in almost every category. Not only is productivity at a higher level than it has ever been in history, the business practices have undergone a transformation of their own. The workplace has become more diverse and brimming with talent on a scale that was previously thought improbable. However, in spite of all these exuberant successes, there’s a problem that continues to wreck havoc within the workplace; sexual harassment.

Harassment continues to linger on in some organizations. In order to come up with concrete steps to prevent and curb sexual harassment it is important to properly understand it in the first place.

Understanding Sexual Harassment

In the simplest of words; sexual harassment is sexual advances, sexual requests, verbal or physical gestures of a sexual nature. It includes any corporate decision that is made to punish/reward an employee if they reject/accept a sexual advance.

It can lead to a toxic workplace that can severely impact the productivity and output of the organization. Tough decisions and policies need to be enacted to curb it at all costs.

Corporate Policies

This is the premier and foremost step that any organization must take in order to ensure that the chances of sexual harassment occurring within the workplace are as minimal as possible. It should be properly outlined within the company’s employee handbook, so that employees are aware of what their rights are as well as the reassurance that reporting sexual harassment will not affect their employment within the organization.

Inappropriate jokes

It’s a reality of any workplace that employees interact with one another during their break or even casually during work hours. This can lead to the occasional chatter. While it is good to promote a culture of communication and interaction within the organization, it is also necessary to extinguish any inappropriate chatter before it becomes part of the company culture. Everyone’s taste in humor is different than others, but it is important to have a firm policy about sexual jokes within the organization in the workplace. It’s the duty of the manager to instill a culture that discourages the overt frequency of sexual jokes within the organization.

Anti-Harassment workshops

It’s good to organize anti-sexual harassment workshops within the organization. Doing this has several benefits such as ensuring that all of your employees are on the same page when it comes to understanding harassment and what they must do if something like this happens to them. It allows everyone in your organization to be absolutely clear about what practices they’re supposed to avoid.

Retaliation

It has often been noted that the reason many victims of sexual harassment in the workplace do not come forward because of the position that the harasser enjoys within the organization or if they’re afraid of the retaliation they’ll face within the organization. It is important that you instill a culture that eliminates this fear that sexual harassment victims often have. It can have an incredibly adverse affect on both the morale and productivity of your employees if they feel that something as serious as harassment isn’t being taken seriously by the management.