Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
It is not only through new bits that you hear of illicit relationships and inappropriate conduct. You only need to look at your workplace to know that this is happening in the very place where we work. Employers need to manage this aspect of employee relationship and to be able to do it effectively, there needs to be a systematic plan in dealing with these cases. And, it has to be followed diligently.
There is a thin line between inappropriate behavior, romantic relationships, and harassment. The reason for this is that consensual relationships can turn sour. Other times, employees are compelled to enter relationships because they believe that this is the prerequisite to success or advancement. Some employees are forced into a relationship as a sort of job requirement.
Harassment in the workplace should be prevented and corrected to protected employers and employees alike without hindering conduct outside work.
Below are ways that you can deal with this problem.
Having a solid harassment prevention policy can be a good line of defense. In order for this policy to be effective, it must clearly identify who is protected, explain the prohibited conduct, and tell employees where to report problems and get help. IF employees approach supervisors and employers about workplace problems, then they should be able to deal with the situation in the best manner. All employees should be given a copy of the policy and they should know whom to approach to answer their questions. With this, the rules are in everyone’s mind.
It is good to have harassment training in your company even though it is not required by law so that you can have good defense when challenged. Check out if your state requires harassment training as some state do.
It is good if employees are trained to prevent unlawful harassment and discrimination so that the company can avoid or reduce potential damages or litigations. Employees will then realize that this issue is taken seriously by the company.
Employers can restrict relationships if there is potential conflict of interest. One such relationship is that which exist between a superior and a subordinate. This relationship can possibly interfere with business judgment. This is why many employers’ policies discourage or prohibit relationships that can cause this conflict.
It is possible to have a relationship without being harassed. But relationships can change and create a hostile work environment. discipline should be imposed on an employee that exhibits hostile behavior in the workplace. The best defense against employee complaints is to resolve it quickly.
Employers can also ask employees who are romantically involved to sign a consensual relationship agreement. Both employees here acknowledge that they will not let their relationships interfere with the performance of their jobs and reinforce the harassment prevention policy.
IF there are complains or signs of harassment in the workplace, then the employer should act on it immediately. Employers should take every complaint seriously knowing how difficult it is to bring out.