Even though many are tired of hearing announcements of newly disclosed workplace sexual harassment incidents, this issue is far from being resolved and will continue until society changes its view about how women are viewed.
It is unbelievable that some individuals, both privately and publicly, have down played these actions that have dramatic personal and financial effects upon the victims and the organizations where they are employed.
Hopefully, we have reached the pipping point where these abuses can no longer be squelched by powerful people and finally a bright light will continue to shine upon this previously “hidden” social issue and properly addressed it.
It does not matter what your industry or how many employees you may have, employers, this is a wake up call to you.
If You Fail to Act:
In addition to permanently damaging the lives of those who were victimized, should an employer fail to prevent and/or properly manage harassment issues, at the minimum they will incur additional problems like these:
• Loss of valuable talent to other employers
• Destroy any positive workplace culture they strove to create
• Cause disruption to their normal course of business and diminish employee productivity
• Add legal and financial difficulties to their business
• Be tagged as an organization not friendly to employee
• Make potential clients/customers rethink if they really wish to work or do business with this organization (in the San Francisco Bay Area, the media has publicized restaurant employees refusing to work for the owner do to his sexual harassment of staff)
What You Should Do:
• Engage an HR professional to be an advisor about this and other related HR matters
• Perform an extensive review of hiring and employee practices/procedures: there is no fool proof “test” to screen out harassers, but make sure they employees fit your detailed job description that should map out required personal characteristics, physical and mental requirements and accountability of the job
• Update your employee manual to comply with current laws
• Require all employees to participate and complete sexual harassment training
• Enforce a Zero tolerance sexual harassment policy
• Note these following comments from an employment professional about sexual harassment training:
To make sure your training is successful, here’s advice from Merrily Archer, an employment attorney with years of experience of as prosecutor of these violations and an employer legal counsel defending employers:
“Effective training on sexual harassment challenges potential harassers to consider the possible disconnect between their intended message and the “heard” message; to understand the power dynamics that color every interaction with a subordinate; to embrace the reality that MOST women find sexual overtures off-putting and demeaning at work; to accept that sexual harassment can jeopardize their careers and credibility just about more than anything else, etc. Effective sexual harassment training, therefore, draws on other tools borrowed from other disciplines like psychology, social psychology, management, and even law enforcement.”
Here’s the article authored by Merrily Archer, that appeared in a LinkedIn posting December 2017.
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