Sexual harassment, whether it happens in a dark alley, club, or workplace, is never acceptable. No matter how hard people try to justify it, perpetrators should not get away with it. It’s also important to realize that sexual harassment comes in many forms and it remains a major problem, worldwide.
If you’re an employer, manager, or HR personnel, you want your workplace to be a safe and friendly place for both your male and your female employees.
Facts and Numbers
Just a quick look at statistics will tell you how prevalent sexual harassment is. One in three women experience it and complaints from men are also on the rise. A report made by the US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2015 shows an even more frustrating fact – over half of sexual harassment claims result in no charges being levied against the perpetrator. Furthermore, over 75% of women who experience sexual harassment in the workplace don’t report it.
While women have made great strides in fighting violence and inequality, sexual harassment allegations continue to rise, even up to this day.
Guidance on Workplace Sexual Harassment
As an employer, it is your responsibility to enforce sanctions on unwelcome sexual acts done to a fellow employee. Ignoring it or stalling the process translates to condoning the act. Now that you know how prevalent it is, you can also take steps to prevent it by spreading awareness, recognizing the signs, and doing background checks on new hires.
And when it does happen, know the legal actions to take to address the complaint. First and foremost, don’t judge an employee for reporting the incident. Be supportive and listen to the whole story. Launch an investigation immediately after the victim reports the incident.
Then, once you’ve collected all the information you need, initiate a hearing. If you find that the issue is too complex for you to handle, consider seeking legal help. In most cases, mediation is the master solution to employment disputes, especially since sexual harassment allegations can be an emotional and hostile case.
As an employer, it is your legal and ethical obligation to impartially investigate claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Bear in mind that victims don’t always have the courage to report the incident directly to their superiors, so watch out for the signs and confirm if you hear any rumors from other employees.