LinkedIn calls it Phase Two of #MeToo. After a 2018 filled with big names in entertainment, media, and business falling because of sexual harassment scandals, experts in business and HR expect that 2019 will see that pattern continue, though it will with less visible industries and less visible leaders.
“You won’t know all of their names, but you’ll certainly know the brands that they lead or work for.”
Conversations about sexual harassment and appropriate workplace behavior are far from over and should accelerate during 2019. This is a good thing, and companies can be prepared by knowing what a safe workplace looks like for all of their employees and what situations some of their employees have found themselves in that make them uncomfortable.
For those that have attended their company’s annual anti-harassment trainings, they can probably identify the basics of what is and what is not appropriate conduct in the workplace. Unlawful harassment comes in many forms.
“The EEOC defines harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”
Harassment can include bullying; offensive comments; discrimination; retaliation; or sexual harassment which can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors (sometimes called quid pro quo), and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
What does this look like in the actual workplace? A recent survey completed with the United Nations staff and contractors found ⅓ of respondents had been sexually harassed in the past two years. According to the survey this harassment came in many forms.
A news article from The Guardian details what harassment at the UN looked like. “According to the report, 21.7% of respondents said they were subjected to sexual stories or offensive jokes, 14.2% received offensive remarks about their appearance, body or sexual activities and 13% were targeted by unwelcome attempts to draw them into a discussion on sexual matters.
“10.9% said they were subjected to gestures or use of body language of a sexual nature, which embarrassed or offended them, and 10.1% were touched in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.
“More than half of those who experienced sexual harassment said it happened in an office environment, while 17.1% said it happened at a work-related social event. Two out of three harassers were male, according to the survey.”
The most sobering statistic? “Only one in three people said they took action after experiencing sexual harassment.”
So, what now? How do you create a workplace where every employee can feel safe? How do you know if there is a problem not being reported in your workplace? How do you champion a workplace free of bullying, offensive comments, retaliation, or sexual harassment? The EEOC says, “Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment.”
With Bevoco, employers can take that crucial step of prevention. Bevoco gives employers the tool they need to train their employees on anti-harassment policies with training videos and a quiz that each employee needs to pass. This training is a crucial step in preventing workplace harassment from occurring.
Bevoco is also a powerful tool for employers to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct harassment by allowing victims to safely, securely, and easily store information about harassment incidents and either work directly with the offender to resolve the issue or report the incident to HR.