How workplaces should deal with sexual harassment

| Aug 11, 2020 | Firm News |

There was a time when employees, particularly women and minorities, were told that workplace harassment was normal. Some individual businesses still have work to do, but now laws and regulations exist to protect workers and provide them with means for legal recourse. Even so, harassment in the workplace, by customers, other employees, managers and others, still happens far too often.

As many North Carolina workplaces move online, either in part or entirely, you might think that incidences of sexual harassment would drop. Unfortunately, you would be wrong in that assumption. The good news is that workplaces and managers can take steps to either prevent harassment from happening or to deal with it properly when it occurs.

How managers and owners can help

If a manager learns that an employee experienced online sexual harassment while conducting work-related duties, one of the simplest things to do is just listen. Hearing the employee out regarding what happened not only helps the manager understand but can help a worker feel validated. Once the manager has the details, he or she can determine whether affected workers may be in any kind of danger and whether to contact law enforcement.

The manager should make sure to document everything, which might be fairly easy with online harassment. Even so, managers cannot take that fact for granted, and they may want to enlist the assistance of another worker or manager if warranted. In some situations, managers may want to appeal to the digital platform where the abuse occurred.

How companies can help

Companies may end up using several of the same tactics as a manager or owner would to deal with online sexual harassment. A company can hear out its employees about any incidences and determine how widespread the threat may be in order to deal with it properly. This can go a long way to creating a supportive environment.

However, companies should also take action to prevent sexual harassment from happening. They can do this by training workers to recognize problematic behavior and providing employees with resources to stop online harassment. The company may want to closely regulate the content employees can post online and generate a way for employees to safely report harassment internally. Furthermore, companies can publicly support employees when sexual harassment occurs and show approval for peer support groups.

If you are sexually harassed at work

No person should ever have to fear sexual harassment while on the job. You have the right to feel safe at work, and harassment of any kind has no place in that endeavor. If you’ve experienced harassment in your workplace, you can take legal action.