Sexual harassment is bullying of a sexual nature and the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of reward in exchange for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This type of conduct affects an individual’s employment, it interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile work environment. Here are several steps to be taken when confronted with sexual harassment at work:
It is common for joking and socializing to occur in the workplace, however, when someone makes a comment or behaves in a way the makes you feel uncomfortable, you should state clearly that the behavior is inappropriate and demand that it stop immediately.
Make notes on the details of the harassment on your personal devise or home computer, including the date, location where it occurred and names of witnesses. If possible, have the witness make a written account of the incident.
REPORT THE INCIDENT
As soon as you feel that you’re being harassed, report the incident to a supervisor or human resources. It is important to do this because your employer should know of the conduct in order to be legally responsible for addressing a co-worker, customer or client’s behavior. The best way to inform authority is to present it formally in writing, outlining the events that took place and ask for a meeting to discuss it in person.
Every employer should distribute a written anti-harassment policy that expressly prohibits sexual harassment and assures the employees that management will conduct a fair investigation and take corrective measures into any claims. All investigations should be conducted in a timely manner, with the strictest confidentiality. In addition, employers should have mandatory sexual harassment training to supervisor on a consistent basis, so that are equip to handle the matter if it arises. Similarly, employees should also endure such training, so that they respond appropriately if it occurs.
Any sexual harassment claim should be investigated by an employer within 24 to 48 hours of the complaint. In order for the investigation to remain unbiased, the employer should allow a third party to conduct the investigation, inclusive of interviews with the person filing the complaint, the accused harasser and any witnesses of the harassment. The employer can act to deter harassment from happening again by administering disciplinary action and/or termination, if the claims are substantiated.
All claims must be documented by the employer. If they do not, it will show that the employer doesn't take sexual harassment seriously and does not intend to investigate the claim. If you report a sexual harassment claim at work, ask your employer for copies of their documentation. Anytime you sign any paperwork, be sure to keep or request a copy for yourself.
Contact Tactical Security & Investigation today for free consultation if you would like to implement proper protocols for investigating sexual harassments claims in the workplace.