How to proactively prevent against sexual harassment

Michelle Hobson explains how to actively prevent sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment is a subject that organisations hope to never have to deal with, but it has a worrying prevalence in businesses throughout the UK. In fact, statistics paint a bleak reality, with 45% of women and 27% of men reported to have experienced unacceptable behaviour at work, according to the Government Equalities Office. 

Of those women who reported harassment, 85% believe they were not taken seriously and the claim was not handled appropriately. So, what steps can be taken to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace in the first place and how can organisations engage employees on this topic? 

Just as there are policies for drugs and alcohol in the workplace, the need for an anti-harassment policy should also be at the top of the agenda, regardless of an organisation’s size or the industry in which it operates. All colleagues need to be aware of the behaviour standards of the organisation and understand the potential consequences of unacceptable behaviour. The policy should clearly lay out the reporting and investigation process for those who experience any unwanted behaviour from colleagues or third parties.  

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