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4 tips on dealing with sexual harassment of coworkers

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Sexual Harassment

Without question, sexual harassment creates a toxic environment. If you suspect or know that a coworker is experiencing unsavory behavior, you can take action to help address the situation.

You may not know how to make a positive difference under the circumstances. Thankfully, the recommended steps are less confounding than you might fear.

Tip 1. Listen and offer support

If a coworker confides in you about experiencing sexual harassment, listen without judgment. In cases where you observe the behavior and the target says nothing, raise the topic in confidence. Let the person know you are willing to help correct the problem. Stress the importance of documenting every incident, including dates, times, locations and witnesses. This information can be pivotal during an investigation.

Tip 2. Encourage reporting through the appropriate channels

Advise your coworker to speak with a supervisor or human resources about the harassment. Companies have policies and procedures in place to handle such allegations. Reiterate that everyone has a right to be safe and comfortable at work.

Tip 3. Respect the person’s privacy

Whether your associate chooses to report the matter remains highly personal. Back the individual regardless. Going on the record can be difficult, and every whistleblower must come forward in their own time. No matter what, respect the informant’s decision.

Tip 4. Promote a positive workplace culture

Everyone plays a role in creating a healthy and welcoming atmosphere at work. Stand against harassment by discouraging sexist jokes and behaviors. If training on sexual harassment is not already in place, speak with human resources about implementing effective programs.

When a peer is dealing with sexual harassment, you can play a supporting role in finding a solution. The right approach is bound to result in a better workspace and happier employees.

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