In light of the multitude of recent reports regarding sexual harassment, we need more than conversations on the topic. We need actions that can eradicate comments and activities of this nature from the workplace. With so many of these scandals in the news, we know the problem is pervasive and transcends industry, age, race, religion, geography, and economic class . Recently there has been a reaction on Twitter regarding these events with the #metoo movement. Many individuals had the courage to share their personal experiences of sexual abuse, harassment, and impropriety, which has encouraged others to follow suit in coming forward. Now we need to turn talk into action to make the workplace a safe environment where everyone can bring their “best selves” to work.
According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) sexual harrassment generally “describes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature,” but it is not limited to that. It is also a pattern of improper belittling tones, sexist comments, subtle actions, or a hostile, sexualized work environment. Part of this definition comes from a recent article, which also includes the following tips for victims.
For the individual dealing with sexual harassment in a work environment:
1. Hold each other accountable as individuals to stand up and protect one another.2. Believe the victim and take the complaints seriously, whether you have the power to do anything about it or not according to this article about how to navigate sexual harassment in the work place.3. Don’t engage in sexist jokes. Draw the line; show your coworkers you don’t put up with those ideals and attitudes.
1. Make a policy regarding the issue and publish it for all employees to see. Baldoni says to make it as clear as possible during new hire training so that they know without a doubt what the policy is.2. Make it a zero-tolerance policy. One-strike, you’re out.3. For the HR department and management, do more than simply create a new policy in a rule book. Discuss these policies so employees know that they carry weight.4. While anti-retaliation policies are illegal, ensure that everyone at your company explicitly knows this.5. Remove mandatory employee arbitration clauses (they are illegal and forbid lawsuits) but they also silence victims and they protect sexual offenders.