Every worker has the right to be in his or her place of employment without fear of experiencing inappropriate treatment of any kind. Unfortunately, however, workers do sometimes experience sexual harassment in the workplace. This can be traumatizing and demeaning, and it can eventually make an employee fear coming to work. There is no place for sexual harassment of any kind, and employers bear a specific responsibility to discourage and prevent it.
The prevention of harassment should be a goal for every employer. Through the implementation of certain strategies and policies, it can make the workplace better for every person who works there. The goal of avoiding sexual harassment is a way to avoid lawsuits, but most importantly, it is a way to ensure that workers are able to do their jobs safely and securely.
Steps to creating better workplaces
Creating a better and safer workplace starts with having an understanding of what counts as sexual harassment and the most effective approaches to creating a positive company culture. While every business is different, the following steps may provide a way for employers to lower the chance that any of their employees have a negative experience due to sexual harassment at work:
- Don’t tolerate even the smallest signs of sexual harassment, including inappropriate jokes or comments. These small things can often lead to a big problem in the future.
- Encourage employees to speak up when they feel uncomfortable or seek help in a situation that could be harassing or discriminatory.
- During an internal investigation, focus on the facts and what truly happened instead of becoming overly legalistic. This could discourage or intimidate victims.
Another critical step for employers is to have a system in place through which employees can report sexual harassment if they are a victim. This system should provide privacy and a way for a worker to explain what happened in a way that is not embarrassing or further traumatizing.
Are you a victim of harassment at work?
If you believe that you are the victim of sexual harassment at work, you are not alone. You do not have to remain silent about what you experienced, but instead, you can seek justice for yourself. As soon as possible after an incident, you will benefit from seeking an explanation of the legal options that may be available to you. It is possible to hold perpetrators and employers accountable for sexual harassment and the development of a hostile work environment.