Everyone wants to feel safe at work. But the reality is that many employees face harassment or other uncomfortable workplace situations daily. As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring your employees feel comfortable and safe at work.
To do so, you must provide anti-harassment training for all employees, particularly those with supervisory responsibilities. The good news is that anti-harassment training can help create a safer working environment for everyone. In addition, it empowers them with strategies for averting harassment and fostering healthy relationships among co-workers.
You may be a person who witnesses an act of harassment taking place, or you might witness someone being harassed. In either case, you must know what to do to prevent the situation from escalating and ensure that your colleague feels safe at work. It is where anti-harassment training comes into action.
Anti harassment training helps your employees to know how to respond:
- If someone tells you they’re being harassed, take them seriously and ask them how they want to proceed. They can do it by reporting it directly or setting up a meeting.
- If the person being harassed doesn’t speak up about the incident themselves, ask them about their experience. You should also try talking with others who may have witnessed what happened to build an accurate picture of what has transpired. It helps you to make decisions about how to handle things moving forward.
- Report harassment incidents immediately by submitting an online report through your HR portal or email. Otherwise, speak with someone in HR immediately so they can begin investigating the issue further while providing support and resources where necessary.
Did you know that it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who has reported harassment? An employer can also be held accountable for failing to take action or provide a safe workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that Federal laws want every employee to have a safe workplace. At the same time, every employer must ensure that they provide their staff with a safe and healthy workplace. Employees have the right to raise their voices against any workplace fears.
Employees must be provided with an anti-harassment training course when they start their jobs, and there may be a refresher course every year. What if your employees aren’t taking the anti-harassment training seriously? How can you ensure they learn everything they need from the training sessions?
Ensure your employees understand how important it is to intervene when someone else’s safety is at risk. It will help ensure everyone feels safe at work, benefiting everyone in the long run.
It is not only an ethical obligation but also a legal requirement for you to provide your employees with a safe work environment. When an employee feels unsafe at work, it affects their mental and physical health and productivity levels.
In addition, harassment leads to increased absenteeism and turnover rates, which means you lose money in terms of hiring costs and training expenses. To avoid this from happening, you should put anti-harassment training at the forefront of your workplace policies so that employees know what constitutes acceptable behavior versus unacceptable behavior within the workplace.
Harassment is not the same as bullying, though they may overlap. The former is a pattern of offensive behavior repeated over time by one or more individuals against another person with whom they have a close relationship. Bullying, on the other hand, focuses on one-off incidents that are usually isolated and don’t involve any form of power imbalance.
Harassment can occur in the workplace only if there’s an established work environment where everyone knows what’s okay and what isn’t. If you work where there are no written rules about acceptable behavior in your workplace, employees should still be able to distinguish between friendly teasing and bullying.
They must also be aware of serious behaviors like sexual harassment or discrimination based on gender/age/race/national origin/religion etc.
Sexual harassment is any behavior that makes a person feel uncomfortable or unsafe because of gender. It can include unwanted sexual attention, physical contact, and being treated differently because of gender.
EEOC reports receiving 27,291 sexual harassment charges between 2018 and 2021, while the overall harassment charges accounted for 98,411 cases. A majority of victims are females. Approximately 78.2% of females reported sexual harassment at the workplace, while 62.2% were victims of overall harassment.
Employees should be aware of all these workplace harassments and how to report if anything similar happens to them or their colleagues at the workplace.
As you know by now, the number of sexual harassment incidents in the workplace is on the rise. It is why it’s important to make employees understand how to intervene and address such situations, especially when they are witnessing them first-hand or hearing about them from their colleagues.
When employees witness a sexual harassment incident at work, they should use their common sense and intervene only when it is safe. It means you should avoid getting into a heated argument with another employee because this could escalate into violence or physical harm for both parties involved.
If your colleague feels comfortable enough to speak up about his/her experience of sexual harassment at work, then don’t try to persuade them otherwise. Always let them choose what they want to do next.
The result of an online poll done by ATD states that 71% of businesses in the US provide anti-sexual harassment training to their employees. At the same time, 9 in 10 respondents feel that firms have a legal sexual harassment policy in place.
When you are trained on what to do in case you witness harassment, it allows other employees to feel safe and more confident in themselves if they ever need to step up and speak out. The same goes for witnessing harassment. When you know how to respond, it helps make others more comfortable intervening.
Additionally, because anti-harassment training is mandatory by law, having this knowledge can help employees feel secure in the workplace even if they aren’t directly involved with the issue.
You must empower employees to take action, which is the goal of anti-harassment training. Employees who feel comfortable reporting harassment will do so, and those who are aware of their rights can ensure they aren’t being harassed in any way. Anti-harassment training teaches employees how to respond in specific situations and gives them the tools for reporting it.
In fact, the Civil Rights Department of California mandates every organization to train for abusive conduct and sexual harassment prevention every two years to their employees.
This training teaches employees how to intervene when they see harassment, so everyone feels safe at work. Bystander intervention is important in creating a safe environment for everyone at work. If bystanders don’t intervene, the victim cannot stop their harassment from escalating further.
In conclusion, anti-harassment training is important to empower people with the knowledge of what harassment is and how they can intervene in such situations. In addition to this, it’s also good practice for employees to understand that they have the right not to be harassed and therefore have a responsibility not to harass others as well.
Finally, this training empowers everyone by teaching specific strategies for averting harassment or responding appropriately should an incident occur.