No matter whether it’s business, local, state or federal workplaces, sexual harassment continues to be a major problem. Recent political events only underscore the reasons why everyone in every workplace must be aware of the problems caused by workplace harassment.
How should management respond to a sexual harassment complaint?
- Show Restraint
- The organization has to demonstrate a respect for the rights of all employees by not willfully violating their rights.
Any job environment that tolerates or fosters illegal harassment, discrimination or retaliation only invites the inevitable lawsuit.
- Managers must reply
- Must address and respond to any employee complaint of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. If your supervisor or manager ignores or doesn’t take your complaint seriously always inform human resources of the problem. Also document your supervisors and HR responses to the complaint.
- Inform Human Resources
- Employers that understand the potential consequences of sexual and other harassment will train managers to report every employee grievance to the appropriate human resource person. Whether or not the employee wants to officially complain or the supervisor believes it to be true, it should be reported.
- Employer Solution
- If our bosses will not correct the problem of harassment, the EEOC will step in. It makes no business sense for public and private employers to open themselves up to preventable lawsuits. Even though inappropriate conduct may not be illegal it just makes good business sense to “nip it” before it becomes a big payday for us employees ;0)
Every career seeker and employee should have a clear understanding of what inappropriate conduct looks like. Remember all harassment even sex harassment doesn’t have to be “sexual” in nature. The following is a list of examples.
- sexually suggestive language or “jokes”
- sexually suggestive, lewd or indecent cartoons, emails, videos, pictures, pinups, social media posts, etc.
- sexual flirtations
- sexist, hate or racist cartoons, emails, videos, pictures, pinups, social media posts, etc.
- cursing or profanity
- employment decisions based on employee’s refusing or submitting to sexual advances
- mocking or making sport of an employees disability, ethnic clothes, accent, language or “the way they talk”
- sexual relations on the job
- physical or sexual assault
- asking an employee about their sexual preferences
- stereotyping comments like, “you don’t look like…”
- ridiculing someone because of their political affiliation or beliefs
- raco-terrorist symbols such as, ku klux klan paraphernalia or crosses, skin head symbols, swastikas and nooses
- raco-terrorist or hate slurs of a racial and ethnic nature
- persistent requests for after work dating.
- explicit stories of a sexual nature
- joking about, trivializing or belittling issues such as rape, murder or slavery
- requesting sexual favors
- hostile or adverse treatment of employees in protect classes such as the disabled, over 40 or Hispanic
Raising awareness about workplace harassment sexual or otherwise is absolutely critical for employers to stay out of legal hot water. Likewise for employees to not lose their jobs and be tainted with the stigma of being a “harasser”. Being branded with workplace harassment can follow you around for years to come. Make sure you are not the “Cain” that upsets the workplace Eden.