REPOST ARTICLE SOURCE:
Knowing what sexual harassment looks like is the first step in preventing it from taking place. Generally speaking, sexual harassment falls into two categories: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. We look at both in detail below and then explore how to prevent them from occurring using sexual harassment training in the workplace and other safeguards.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
- A manager making direct demands for sexual favors while suggesting it is in the employee’s best interest to comply
- A manager asking to meet an employee outside of work, making romantic overtures during the meeting, and then discussing the job security the employee would enjoy by being in a relationship with the manager
- A manager placing a hand on an employee’s knee during a one-on-one meeting and suggesting the employee’s performance reviews would go better if the employee were “friendlier”
- A manager demoting an employee who rebuked the manager’s sexual innuendos at a company party
- A co-worker making frequent sexual remarks towards an employee
- A co-worker repeatedly touching an employee in an unwelcome manner
- An employee regularly receiving sexually explicit e-mails from a co-worker
- A co-worker making catcalls every time an employee walks by
- A co-worker constantly inquiring about an employee’s sex life or sexual history
- A co-worker pestering an employee for a date or sexual encounter
- Training: Best practice recommends regular training for all employees on preventing workplace harassment and discrimination. Conducting training every two years is a good standard, and in California this is the law for supervisors. In years when full training is not being provided, refresher training is recommended in order to keep information fresh in employees’ minds.
- Awareness: In addition to training, it is important for organizations to foster awareness of harassment through other means, such as posters, videos, and brochures. These materials should help employees identify workplace harassment as well as inform employees who they should contact to report or discuss harassment allegations. Typically, this is a supervisor, the human resources department, or the organization’s ethics and compliance hotline.
- Process for Handling Complaints: Organizations should ensure they have clear and efficient processes in place for handling harassment complaints. Every organization should establish and promote the appropriate channels for reporting allegations (supervisors, HR, whistleblower hotline), and the procedures for investigating and resolving complaints should be consistent across all channels. How such investigations are conducted, what corrective actions may take place, what kind of relief victims may receive, what degree of confidentiality complainants can expect, and how retaliation will be prevented and addressed – these are all aspects of the process that every organization should detail in its policies, embrace consistently in its actions, and share fully with its employees.