Can we talk about the elephant in the room…
Last week Carol and I were approached by a business owner, who is male, about sexual harassment concerns. Here’s what we heard…
Good men who respect women and support women in business are afraid…
I know what you’re thinking…if they don’t do or say anything wrong they have nothing to worry about, right? Well, it’s not so cut and dry. We wish it were!
Men and women have been laughing, joking and flirting in work environments forever and most times it’s within acceptable boundaries for both parties.
Joking and flirting, and other behaviors in the workplace become inappropriate when only one party thinks it’s “okay” and the other party feels the actions are threatening or make them feel uncomfortable.
So how do men and women protect themselves in the workplace?
How do they keep from crossing the line and creating uncomfortable situations or worse yet sexual harassment claims?
The answer is simple and most people don’t want to hear it. “Be sensitive to those around you and remember you’re 100% responsible for YOUR actions.” And yes, we know what you’re thinking… “Human Resources makes a big deal out of good people just having fun at work.”
Here’s what we know…in most cases where sexual harassment claims are filed, the accuser will state that he or she didn’t realize they were crossing the line…. they didn’t feel what they said or did was inappropriate or that they thought that it was consensual.
And here’s what we always say…this type of behavior is never okay in a work environment for those specific reasons. Putting yourself in a position where your comments or behaviors are questionable will likely get you in trouble sooner or later.
I remember the President of one of the companies that I used to work for saying to me… “I never put myself in a position where my actions can be misconstrued.”
He also followed that up with… “I not only follow that logic for my own safety, but for yours too. I don’t want people to draw conclusions that aren’t true.” His logic has stayed with me through the years, and now more than ever I understand and respect his advice.
Now is the time to invest in Harassment Training for your management staff as well as your non-management staff.
Harassment training for your management team is a must! If you have managers or supervisors managing groups of people it is imperative that they understand the rules of engagement when it comes to working relationships in a business environment.
The same goes for your non-management staff…learning how to navigate in business with their co-workers and management team is essential in creating a safe environment for everyone!
What about your HR Department? Is your HR Department prepared to deal with complaints? Do they know how to handle them and conduct safe investigations?
Whether you need help with harassment training, or creating a complaint handling process or need training on how to conduct a safe investigation, we can help! Want to learn more about our programs? Click here to view on our website.
If you’re interested in reaching out, please call us at (312) 324-0401. We offer in-house training as well as online training to meet your needs!