Workplace harassment is more prevalent than one realizes and is not limited to sexual harassment. Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual attention, offensive jokes and language, ridicules, physical assaults, and threats. Both men and women can be victims. However, statistics show that sexual harassment overwhelmingly victimizes females.
Unfortunately, workplace harassment, especially sexual harassment, often goes unreported as victims are unsure of what steps to take when they are being harassed. Also, there is a fear of retaliation, being silenced or losing one’s job, if the unwanted behavior is reported. The “Me Too” movement, which started a year ago, has enhanced awareness of sexual harassment and many employers have reexamined their policies and procedures, strengthening them.
Laws regarding workplace harassment are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Any individual who believes their rights have been violated can file a charge with the Commission. However, it is best to develop a means of addressing employee complaints within your organization
Workplace harassment creates a toxic corporate environment. It is preferable to address this issue before it happens by having guidelines for employee behavior, in place. It is important to create a corporate culture where every employee feels safe in their work environment.