All individuals deserve to work in a safe and comfortable environment. Here is what you need to know about sexual harassment in the workplace and how to handle a situation if you encounter one:
What is considered harassment?
Sexual harassment is legally defined as "unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile working environment." This can include a broad variety of behaviors and comments, and anyone can be a harasser, regardless of gender or position in the company. Some examples of this behavior include:
- Comments about appearance or sexual jokes that make a person uncomfortable
- Derogatory or inappropriate gestures
- Unwanted physical contact
- E-mails or posts of a sexual nature
- Comments or jokes specific to gender, such as "this is a man's job" or "women belong in the kitchen"
- Being fired, demoted or refused a promotion because you reject a sexual advance or request for a date
- Simple teasing or offhand comments that are so frequent or severe that they create a hostile work environment for one or more individuals
Enforce a NO TOLERANCE Policy
Sexual harassment is against the law. Be sure to continuously enforce that your company will not tolerate it. Retaliating against someone who reports sexual harassment is also illegal. If you report harassment in good faith, you will not face any retaliation or adverse actions that will impact your job.
Report the Incident to Your Supervisor or HR
Businesses must have a system in place for employees who think they have been harassed. It is vital that you tell someone that a comment they made or their behavior has made you uncomfortable. Firmly tell him or her to stop. Write down everything that happens, including dates, times, places and people involved. Report the incidents to your supervisor or HR immediately. The company must conduct a thorough investigation and take action to stop any harassment that is verified.
All businesses should take the proper steps to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for their employees. Know how to recognize a harassment situation and know who to report it to.
Contact Carriage Trade Insurance if you have any questions.