The most visible issue in today’s workforce is that of Sexual Harassment, reports of which have been quickly escalating as the result of the #MeToo movement. In November 2017 research reported by Time magazine:
- Overall, 62 percent of men and 71 percent of women believe sexual harassment happens at almost all or most workplaces.
- Almost 50% of women employed in the U.S. have been sexually harassed, whether verbally or physically.
Let’s first level set on the definition of Sexual Harassment which is “unwanted behavior of a sexual nature; verbal, non-verbal or physical“. Perpetrators of such harassment can be managers, colleagues, clients, vendors, and others, whether male or female. Additionally, it does not have to occur in the actual workplace; it can be anywhere two employees are together such as off-site meetings, training, and other business-related events.
As HR professionals, you need be incredibly vigilant to any such claims or even rumors of such behavior.
Following are Key Tips to Support your Vigilance
- Revisit your sexual harassment policy and revise it as necessary to be explicit. For example, spell out clearly that sexual harassment includes:
- Sexual comments or jokes in person or via email
- Inappropriate touching
- Staring in a sexually-suggestive manner
will not be tolerated.
In summary, escalate this issue within your workplace and provide a clear understanding, as well as guidelines, for all employees. Your best defense on Sexual Harassment is a well-orchestrated offense.