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Fighting Harassment in the Workplace

Fighting Harassment in the Workplace

Many people, including both celebrities and private individuals, are now speaking out about sexual harassment. As victims file cases, offenders are facing serious consequences and hefty fines. Just because there are no complaints made at your office doesn’t mean it’s free from harassment. Often, employees don’t speak up about the harassment they experience they experience or witness because there is no clear process in place for reporting it, or because they fear they won’t be listened to or believed.

Harassment should never be accepted in the workplace. It is not only detrimental to the victims, in the long run, ignoring harassment or allowing it to continue will also damage your business’ image and reliability. Harassment in the workplace brings negativity in your employees that could lead to poor performance and dissatisfaction. Once a workplace started to be toxic, one by one you could lose your employees, even the best ones. So you must always strive to maintain positivity and harmony at your workplace.

Harassment can be overt, such as in cases of assault. But there are also more subtle forms of harassment to consider, such as:

  • poking fun of your colleague’s veteran status
  • discriminating against others because of political orientation
  • disparaging your coworker’s marital status/li>
  • putting an offending image on your employee’s computer screen
  • giving your coworker of a different race overloaded work
  • not promoting employees due to sexual orientation

It’s helpful to understand the many faces of harassment in a workplace in order to avoid it. In addition, putting up with others’ harassing behavior may be just as damaging to a business as doing the harassing yourself. Though it may not be illegal, it can create a hostile work environment that isn’t good for anyone.

If you think there’s harassment in your company, the following tips can help you take action and stop hostility in the workplace:

  • Don’t blame the victim. When there’s a harassment report in your office, make sure to respond appropriately. It’s important that you show your employees that you will never tolerate acts of harassment by addressing all complaints.
  • Employers must have well-defined reporting processes when it comes to workplace harassment. You should make sure your company provides various methods and multiple points of contact so that employees can easily report harassment.
  • Create a harassment-free culture in the workplace. It’s important that employees see their workplace as an ethical environment that is safe and productive. Through proper training, they can improve their knowledge and attitude for the betterment of the organization. An effective way of improving their knowledge is by setting up a training program that could help them learn and understand that harassing co-workers and anyone in the workplace is a bad act and will never be accepted and tolerated. There are a lot of available training programs online that you can read more about to see which one will be the best fit for your employees.

Harassment prevention programs and policies can change the culture of your company and turn it into a healthy workplace for everyone. Raising harassment awareness significantly reduces the risk of workplace harassment among coworkers and employers.

At first glance, a positive workplace might not seem to be a big factor in the success of a company, but having employees who feel valued and safe will be much more productive and loyal, thereby increasing your bottom line. Thinking about their welfare and reassuring them that they are safe in their work stations can be a way of rewarding them for their hard work, aside from being compensated. Fighting harassment must not be limited to your ordinary employees, but should extend to your company’s CEO, President, Supervisors, Managers, and other higher level authorities.

Establishing a respectful organizational culture can help develop values and behaviors that cultivate appropriate workplace conduct. Set goals to help employees fulfill their responsibilities, while upholding values, such as honesty, integrity, fairness, and collegiality.

So how are you fighting harassment in your company? Consider these tips and create a healthy environment where productivity and camaraderie prevail.

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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.