Sexual Harassment Training in the Workplace: What You Should Know
After the home, the workplace is probably where people spend most of their time in a day and like the home, people want to feel safe in their offices too. In fact, people want to feel safe everywhere they go, as difficult as it might be to achieve this.
You see, there are different factors that contribute to how satisfied employees are with their jobs. A competitive salary is often a major factor, a great boss too is a nice addition to the equation. But in recent years, it appears as if workers are more concerned about something else and seem to value that above all others. That is, a company’s work culture and work environment. Visit https://www.indeed.com/ to learn more about work culture.
Working in a toxic environment, might be the worst thing that can happen to an employee or even an employer. Going to work each day feels like a burden and energy and motivation is usually really low. Everything begins to feel like too much work, including simple everyday tasks.
Now, a lot can make the workplace toxic including poor leadership, unreasonable targets, sexual harassment and so on. However, sexual harassment not only destroys the workplace but sometimes also cause emotional, psychological, and physical damage to victims. This is why it is heavily frowned upon by society.
Governments around the world are making sure that companies prevent sexual harassment in the workplace as much as possible. Despite U.S. federal laws and policies to prevent this lowly act, some states and even cities within states have enacted their own laws. In New York City, for example, NYC employers with 15 or more employees are to provide annual sexual harassment training to all its employees.
Why is Sexual Harassment Training Important in the Workplace?
In simple terms, this training is necessary for creating a safe work environment for everyone, employers and employees alike. Sexual harassment and sexual assaults happen everyday and no one hopes to experience it. But the last place people would want to encounter such vile acts is where they work to make a living.
The following are other reasons why sexual harassment training should be taken seriously in the workplace:
Protection from Legal Liability
As we mentioned earlier, sexual harassment is a crime and employers are legally required to do all that’s required of them by the law to prevent it. The failure of a company to adequately train their workforce and educate them about sexual harassment exposes such a company to legal and financial risks that can be quite expensive.
So, the best way for business organizations to protect themselves is by complying and training employees accordingly. Company policies on the matter should also be explicit and made available to all stakeholders including clients and customers. It is important for employers to make their stand against sexual harassment very clear and to uphold the policies that they put in place.
This training not only encourage employees who have had experiences to speak up but also encourage bystanders who may have witnessed these acts to also speak up. What’s great is that incidents that may have occurred in the past can then be revisited and dealt with according to the law. With sexual harassment training, everyone gets to speak up for one another.
Identifying Acts of Sexual Harassment
Not every employee is fully aware of what constitutes sexual harassment or the different forms in which it can happen. Some can be easily identified while others are more subtle and may go unnoticed if one isn’t fully aware and trained about the topic.
For instance, unwanted kissing, butt slapping, touching of the breasts, and explicit requests for sexual favors can be easily made out by anyone to be forms of this act. However, some, as we mentioned earlier are subtle and, on the surface, may not look like much. But if left unchecked, these acts are likely to become more aggressive.
For clarity, the following can constitute sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Sexually suggestive gestures
- Asking a colleague about their sex life
- Unsolicited massages
- Spreading sexual rumors about a colleague
- Cornering a colleague in a tight space
- Compliments that are repeated enough to make someone uncomfortable, etc.
Improve Work Culture and Company Morale
Sexual harassment training is one of the many ways by which employers and company leaders can show employees that they care about them and their wellbeing. According to statistics, female employees are the most harassed in the workplace and this training gives them a sense of safety and assurance that they can speak up whenever they feel like they’re being sexually harassed.
Overall, employees’ morale will be high when they feel safe and cared for by the company. Ultimately, this is to the benefit of the company as employees tend to be more productive when they are motivated. Click here to learn more about how to boost employee morale.
While it is difficult to say that this act will be eradicated from society any time soon, the compounding effect of these small steps draws society closer to getting rid of sexual harassment. It is therefore the responsibility of both employers and employees to play their part in ensuring that the workplace is safe and free from sexual harassers and offenders.
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