Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is a prevalent problem. Both employees and companies are significantly effected by sexual harassment; it can cause a loss of productivity, poor performance, disruptive work environments, and loss of good employees and managers. As well, sexual harassment is against the law as it is a form of sex discrimination.
Sometimes it seems grey on what is and isn’t sexual harassment. So, what does it look like?
Sexual Harassment Conditions
In order for an act to be sexual harassment, these three criteria must be met:
- Has to be sexual
- Is be unwelcome
- Is be severe or pervasive
Often, employees do not report unwelcome conduct or behaviors because they fear of job loss or other retaliation, especially when a power dynamic exists between the victim and the harasser.
What Prevents Sexual Harassment?
- Creating and publicizing a sexual harassment policy that explicitly states sexual harassment will not be tolerated and that explains what types of conduct will be considered sexual harassment.
- Creating and publicizing a specific procedure for resolving complaints of sexual harassment.
- Establishing methods to educate new management and employees on the company’s sexual harassment policy and reporting procedure.
- More than annually conducting sexual harassment awareness training for all employees.
Sexual harassment is a crime that creates a whole host of problems in the workplace. Foremost, no one should have to work with the fear of being subjected to unwanted advances from colleagues. Sexual harassment has a chilling effect in the workplace that fractures working and personal relationships in the workplace, and damages the reputation of employers that foster such an environment. Liability is high in sexual harassment situations, so there is good reason to take every measure possible to deter sexual harassment behaviors.
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