Holly Hall

How to Combat Harassment in your Organization

Sadly, sexual harassment claims are dominating the “entertainment” headlines these days.  It seems that far too many men of power (Harvey Weinstein) and actors (Kevin Spacey) have abused workplace power and hurt far too many in the process.

It would be wrong to assume that this is simply a “Hollywood problem.” It’s clear with the #metoo movement that in 2017, sexual harassment is pervasive in the workplace.  The focus on sexual harassment of women, has brought to the center conversation as a result of revelations concerning inappropriate behavior by movie producer Weinstein and others.  This is creating a movement that may not subside quickly.

According to a recent New York Times article, the nation’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives more than 12,000 allegations of alleged sex-based harassment each year with women accounting for 83% of the grievances.

Additionally, roughly 3 out of 4 people experiencing harassment never report it.  Unfortunately women see it as easier to ignore the harasser, deny or downplay the gravity of the situation rather than report it.  Why?  Because even today when they do, many are forced into secrecy and silence with agreements and settlements that prevent them from talking about what happened.  These “settlements” do nothing to address the underlying issue and it continues to perpetuate.

What can you do to get in front of this at your organization?

  1. Create a strong anti-harassment policy and clearly communicate your company’s stance
  2. Ensure employees know their options to stop the behavior
  3. Ensure all of leadership understands their obligation to maintain zero tolerance for harassment in the workplace
  4. Annually train all of your employees on all forms of harassment
  5. Address all harassment complaints right away
  6. Create a safe, non-retaliatory environment for victims to come forward and report inappropriate behavior

It’s critical that every organization revisit or develop its sexual harassment policy, conduct training or need to conduct a review of your policies and practices.  Beyond the cold pragmatism of trying to avoid lawsuits, organizations cannot afford to lose good people as a result of departures from those who don’t speak up.

Willory’s consulting team is adept at developing these policies and can help either create or review what you currently have in place. If you would like more information, use the form below or send an email to holly@willory.com.

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