Harass or harassment is a when a person annoys or upsets someone else, usually repetitively. It is done on purpose and makes the target feel scared, worried or sick from fear. These are behaviors that appear to be disturbing, upsetting or threatening.
Harassment in your office is bad for business. It not only hurts morale and productivity, but it can also make it more difficult to hold on to qualified employees. In addition, once word gets out that harassment is occurring, the reputation of your entire organization can quickly diminish. The legal fees, settlements and damage awards could end up costing your company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Helping Employees Understand and Avoid Harassment
As an employer, it is your responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination. In fact, you are legally obligated to provide your employees with a safe environment. If you allow harassment to flourish, your company will pay the price.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Prevention is the best tool for the elimination of sexual harassment. An employer should take all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring, such as affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise and how to raise the issue of harassment under title VII, and developing methods to sensitize all concerned.”
The best way to prevent harassment is by properly training your employees.
Proper training will help establish stronger working relationships throughout your entire organization. Emotional intelligence training and sensitivity training for managers will provide a comfortable working environment and effectively improve production. With the right training, employees will learn to communicate with one another in a professional manner, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and misrepresentation.
By providing your employees with proper training, they are able to identify and avoid conduct in the office that offends those around them. They will have a better understanding of their behavioral expectations and responsibilities. In addition, they will learn to eliminate any form of harassment before it starts.Through sexual harassment training and teaching your employees how to understand, identify and avoid the most common forms of workplace harassment, you are protecting your entire organization. Proper training is the best way to reinforce company policies against workplace harassment and discrimination.
It is important to provide proper training to your employees at least once a year to ensure everyone understands exactly what is considered harassment. This also gives you a chance to explain that they all have the right to work in a harassment free environment and encourage anyone who feels they have been harassed or unfairly treated to take care of things in house instead of going outside or to the courthouse.