When The New York Times published the story detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, it sent shockwaves far beyond Hollywood and showed the world that harassment is still a very present problem in our society.
The public support for the victims has had an impact far outside of the film industry, with people starting to “use social media to open up about workplace harassment complaints that have gone unheeded” (NPR, 2017)
It’s a particularly pertinent reminder for employers to remain vigilant against any kind of harassment in the workplace and to ensure they have sufficient procedures in place to safeguard employees.
As Sharmili Majmudar, director of strategic partnerships at Women Employed, explains “We’re talking about an issue that is endemic to the workplace. We have to look at two really large areas: one is how do we make it safe and easy for people to report harassment, and secondly how do we ensure the workplace culture becomes one that is intolerant of it.” (The Chicago Tribune)
While there’s no one way of dealing with an issue as serious as harassment, the following steps might make it a little easier to navigate at a sensitive time.
- Have a clear policy.
Both employers and employees need to be aware of what harassment is and how it will be dealt with by the company. Having a no-tolerance policy with clear definitions can help to clarify the procedure to everyone involved.
- Encourage a positive manager-workforce relationship.
Having managers who are approachable to employees can help to make reporting harassment easier. It can sometimes be a difficult subject to broach, so having a friendly face there can be encouraging.
- Keep it confidential.
It goes without saying that any complaint or investigation should be kept confidential. This helps to reduce the chance of any negative impact on the parties involved.
- Act quickly.
Begin to act on the complaint as soon as possible, as unnecessary waiting can make the process more difficult to resolve.
- Investigate any allegations fairly and thoroughly.
It’s important for both the person making the allegation and the person who has been accused to have confidence that each and every instance has a fair investigation. It’s preferable to have an external investigator or one without a personal relationship to the employees involved.
- Always adhere to legislation.
As an employer, you have certain legal responsibilities with regard to the safety of your employees. This includes the prevention of and appropriate action taken against bullying and harassment. This is important to remember when dealing with any complaint, no matter how small.
This article was written by Amica HR, formerly B&G HR. Do you have a business-related blog piece or article that you would like to share with NBV clients? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Learn more about Amica: http://amicahr.co.uk/