The danger of denying sexual workplace harassment

“The thought that sexual harassment can’t appear in your company is a naïf and perhaps arrogant thought.”
Most of the time employees that have to deal with sexual workplace harassment don’t feel secure enough to share what is happing in their work environment. Despite the knowledge of the existence of a company policy that should protect them, or simple because of the fact that the behavior isn’t being recognized as sexual harassment, it’s difficult for victims and bystanders to step forward. This ‘silence’ however doesn’t tell you that your company is free from sexual harassment.
A good prevention starts with acceptance. So when we accept the possibility that sexual harassment can happen by superiors, among co-workers, clients, teachers etc. we can start an effective prevention policy that will be embraced by employers and employees. Not just because of the code of conduct but also because of the strong believes that your company will share through these rules of behavior that you have to stand for respect and believing. To make workplace harassment negotiable you actually do need to discuss this subject with your employees and ensure them that no colleague stands above this policy and that the consequences for breaking these rules are the same for every employee. Integrity, trust and believe are the keywords in cases like sexual workplace harassment, but employees need to see how employers put these words into action by providing good training for all employees (not only superiors), by being alert when employees call in sick or want to change their schedule in order to avoid a colleague. By showing that they are able to act against sexual workplace harassment by taking every complaint seriously. This means that not only victims but also the offenders are being protected against possible escalation that will create a hostile environment.

Virtually every day we receive emails from victims all over the world in which they share their experience with sexual harassment. The questionnaire that is live in Aruba shows a shocking result. It’s very sad and of much concern that these employees work in both small companies and multinationals that, please note, have a company non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy. Victims who are filing complaints but still aren’t being protected because the harasser is their superior. This is intended to make sure other victims and bystanders stay low, remaining too afraid to come forward. That’s why we must ensure that their voices are properly heard.

The qualities that make change possible, concerning sexual workplace harassment, are reflected in the quality of the employer-employee relationship. This starts with acknowledging the possibility that this unacceptable and criminal behavior can happen in your work environment.

Ready for that good quality and successful employer-employee relationship, than please remove your blinkers and contact karin@aboutworkplaceharassment.com for more information.

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