When you go to work, you should not feel frightened, harassed or threatened in any way. All employees deserve to be able to do their jobs in an environment that is safe and free from harassment, but unfortunately, not all employees enjoy this type of work experience. In some workplaces, harassment of a sexual nature occurs, impacting the mental and emotional health of employees. Employers play a vital role in the prevention of this type of behavior.
There are specific and important things employers can do that will reduce the chance of these types of events from happening in the workplace. Each employer should take the potential threat of sexual harassment seriously and take steps to protect the individuals who work there. If you are a victim, you do not have to remain silent about what you experienced.
The prevalence of sexual harassment
Employers may not consider sexual harassment a major problem because they may have few, if any, reported incidents. However, this does not mean that inappropriate behaviors are not happening. Victims often feel overwhelmed and confused, and they may not speak out about what they experienced. Regardless of how likely it is that sexual harassment will take place, employers should provide effective training that does the following:
- Explain the company’s policy on sexual harassment
- Define the actions and behaviors that count as sexual harassment
- Introduce strategies that reduce the chance of it happening
- Include examples and realistic scenarios of what harassment can look like
- Explain the ways that sexual harassment can impact a victim
- Introduce bystander prevention strategies for witnesses
Sexual harassment training should be custom-tailored to the specific type of company and nature of the work done by employees. There is also evidence that live training is more effective than video- or computer-based training. All California employees should also understand the company’s harassment policy and how to proceed when reporting this type of behavior.
What if you are a victim?
If you are the victim of sexual harassment, you do not have to remain silent. You have the right to speak up about what you experienced and seek justice. You may file a claim reporting the incident, as well as seek appropriate compensation. Due to the sensitive and complex nature of many harassment cases, you will benefit from having experienced guidance as you move forward.