McDonald's are reported to have received over 1000 complaints of sexual harassment in 2019 and a report published by Ranstad found 72% of female workers have seen or been subjected to inappropriate behaviour from male colleagues at work.
The report from Ranstad shows that it's not just global organisations that have these sorts of issues in the workplace. Every single employer is responsible for ensuring they take proactive measures against harassment in the workplace. And here are a few tips on how you can do just that.
Take a stance on harassment and live by it
This doesn't just mean having an anti-harassment policy. It means that everyone you come across in your working day knows how you feel about this issue. You might not be overly passionate about it, and that's okay. But do you condone it in your business? How would you handle a complaint of harassment from a member of your team?
We typically find that male directors find it hard to relate to sexual harassment issues, usually because they haven't been subjected to it. But that doesn't mean that male business owners can't fly the flag for appropriate behaviour at work.
All you need to do is decide how you feel about harassment at work and make sure your actions reflect the words you put in your policies.
Provide regular training to staff
Quite often harassment is never reported because people don't fully recognise it. We know that harassment can often be disguised as "banter" and women who speak up about it are labelled as "dramatic" or "sensitive". But actually, not one needs to be asked "how do you like your eggs in the morning? Fertilised?" in the office kitchen. EVER. And yes, that is a real life example!
So make sure you provide at least annual training to staff on what harassment looks like and remind staff of the company procedures for reporting such behaviour.
Don't be a dick
When it comes to eradicating harassment from the workplace, I like to refer people to one simple mantra...don't be a dick. Don't make comments that might be considered "banter" in the pub. Because the likelihood is that it's not funny in the pub, never mind at work!
Be kind. Be courteous. Look after your colleagues. Provide your team with a safe place to report things that make them feel uncomfortable.
And if you still have questions about how to avoid harassment claims, book yourself a consult call with Lilac HR.