The office space should be one of the safest places for any individual when it comes to sexual harassment. However, the bitter truth is that this is not the case, as there are countless cases of sexual harassment in the workplace around the world.
The International Labour Office [ILO] defines sexual harassment as a sexual conduct that is unwelcome and offensive to the recipient. For sexual harassment to exist these two conditions must be present.
To understand that further, let’s first look at the types of sexual harassment at workplace:
Types of Sexual Harassment at Workplace
Studies report that anywhere from 40 to 90 percent of women in the U.S. have been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace or while performing job duties. Thus, it is important to understand what counts as sexual harassment at workplace? There are two types of Sexual Harassment recognized by United States law –
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] states that there are two types of claims in sexual harassment:
- Quid Pro Quo – Perpetrators of this form of sexual harassment are people in authority. This involves expressed or implied sexual favors in exchange of corporate or similar benefits.
- Hostile work environment – When an intimidating work environment is created, one in which a person’s work performance is affected, it also counts as sexual harassment.
There is clear guidance provided by EEOC on defining sexual harassment and stating employer’s liability in the same. Furthermore, there is no case that states that any one person will not be liable for managing employee tasks.
Is Sexual Harassment Gender Specific?
In any definition or terms sexual harassment does not come under the gender-specific category. A man sexually harassing a woman and vice-versa including any other case of sexual harassment where same gender people are involved, all of it counts as sexual harassment and is illegal and outright offensive.
How to prevent sexual harassment at workplace?
There is no organization in function that does not have the need for creating a protective and safe workplace. The risk of sexual harassment cases is always existing and thus it is essential that organization are aware of ways to prevention.
- Assign due importance to the topic – It is essential for the management and human resource professionals at any organization to assert that sexual harassment is intolerable. Every individual must be clearly aware of the gravity of the topic and the consequences.
- An effective policy against sexual harassment at workplace – The organization must have
- Training & Guidance – The best way to prevent sexual harassment at workplace, is by training and guiding the workforce on its unethical nature and the risk that follows. Sexual harassment at workplace can lead to legal troubles for the perpetrators and can risk their career paths.
- Monitor workplace – Closely monitor your workplace and conduct periodic checks to ensure that the employees feel safe at work and that no unusual activities are occurring the office.
- Form a POSH committee – It is extremely important for organizations to have a POSH committee consisting of male and female members who cater to grievances and are responsible enough to maintain anonymity wherever needed.
- Take sexual harassment complaints seriously – Whenever there is a complaint regarding sexual harassment at workplace make sure that it is taken seriously and through investigation of the matter is conducted. Also, the complainant should not be made to feel uncomfortable or threatened at any time during the whole process.
How Integrated Resources Inc. (IRI) handles Sexual Harassment at Workplace?
At IRI we have a very strong belief in providing the safest work environment to all individuals, irrespective of their gender or job roles.
There is POSH policy in place and a thorough background verification of every individual is conducted to ensure that the member that join the tribe are ethically and morally upright. Every action of the workforce is closely monitored, and the work environment is such that encourages individuals to speak up freely on such matters.
Sexual harassment has a devastating impact not just on work or personal front, but it also damages a person at mental level, making them insecure and scared of every individual around them. To avoid all of these and other grave situations, it is necessary that above mentioned steps are taken.