It is unfortunate that workplace harassment is a reality for some. Understanding what qualifies as harassment, educating employees on what to do if they feel harassed, and enforcing a strict harassment policy are all necessities for today’s businesses.
What is harassment?
An unwelcome behavior, whether physical or verbal, can constitute harassment. It can be based on age, sex, race, religion, nationality, or any other trait that defines us as unique individuals. Harassment is illegal when one of these is true:
Your state, company, or organization may have a broader definition of harassment, as these are the federal guidelines that define workplace harassment. It is essential that all employees within your organization, including senior staff, consultants, and third-party vendors, are aware of and understand your organization’s definition of and policies regarding harassment in the workplace. The first step toward prevention is awareness.
The most common behaviors associated with harassment are insults, offensive jokes, name-calling, threats, ridicule, offensive pictures, slurs, and physical assault. Not all harassment is related to gender or sexual orientation, and harassment can occur at all levels of authority, including between peers or even toward non-employees. An example of this would be if harassment happened during a job interview. All of these protections are outlined by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC).
How do I Educate Staff Regarding Harassment?
Services like those offered by Global Learning Systems are excellent ways to provide harassment training to all of your employees as a part of your onboarding or professional development courses. Each person within your organization needs to be aware of your policies and procedures regarding harassment, and offering anti-harassment courses for the workplace is an efficient way to accomplish this goal. By customizing your training for your policies and procedures, you can ensure your employees feel safe and protected in the workplace.
All staff should be aware that the EEOC governs workplace harassment enforcement, and they each have the right to file a claim with the commission if they feel their rights have been violated. But, employees should be aware of and exercise your internal processes for addressing and rectifying any problems, so making this a part of your training will be necessary.
Remember to tailor your educational courses toward various levels of responsibility, as managers have a different level of responsibility for handling charges of harassment than lower-level employees. Workplace harassment is something no employee should have to tolerate, so be sure everyone within your organization understands their rights and responsibilities related to this vital topic.