Did you know… 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed at work. Proposed Federal laws will be grounds for dismissal from a workplace.
The current media coverage regarding sexual harassment in Federal parliament and the workplace is bringing the issue to the forefront and with the aim of transforming not only laws but how the issue is managed in the workplace.
DID YOU KNOW… 1 IN 3 WOMEN HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY HARASSED AT WORK?
Despite the fact that most businesses have a policy in place, sexual harassment continues to rear its ugly head in today’s workplace. A 2015 study by Cosmopolitan revealed one in three women, aged 18 to 34, have been sexually harassed at work.
Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that some women may not even realise the way they’re being treated constitutes sexual harassment. The same study found that, while 16 percent of women surveyed said “no” when asked if they had been sexually harassed at work, those same women said “yes” to experiencing sexually explicit or sexist remarks.
Researchers at the University of Missouri recently evaluated how employee interpretation of sexual harassment policies can invalidate the purpose of those policies. They discovered employee perceptions of how sexual harassment is defined by a business’s policy can effectively distort the meaning of these policies.
Unfortunately many who are sexually harassed in the workplace do nothing because they think it would negatively impact their career. And this is the sad reality of sexual harassment in the workplace today, not to mention one of the reasons it remains such a prevalent issue.
As a result of the recent media coverage of the issue, the Federal Government says it will work to reform laws and regulations around sexual assault in response to a report on workplace harassment.
Under the proposed changes, sexual harassment will be grounds for dismissal from a workplace, while the scope of the Sex Discrimination Act will be extended to include judges and MPs.
The Human Rights Act will also be amended to allow victims to come forward two years after the alleged event, instead of the current six months.
WAYS TO KEEP THESE FACTS FROM BECOMING A REALITY IN YOUR WORKPLACE?
- To improve employee well-being, educate employees with updated policies, educational materials and/or training workshops. The first step in preventing sexual harassment in the workplace is to ensure employees and leaders know how to identify it.
- Employee perceptions of sexual harassment influences workplace policy effectiveness. To avoid any confusion when it comes to what falls under the sexual harassment umbrella, strive to be as clear and concise as possible with your policies.
- In addition to having a clear, concise sexual harassment policy, businesses also need to clearly point out the potential consequences for harassers. Knowing employers will be held accountable will encourage employees to take action rather than suffer silently.
- To further support those who have been affected by sexual harassment in the workplace, offer counselling services and ensure those affected know they are supported. These efforts can go a long way in creating a workplace that feels safe, supportive and improve individual and overall employee well-being.
Akyra’s key takeaways
It can be a daunting prospect for businesses and managers to not only know where to start, but how to manage sexual harassment in the workplace.
Akyra can provide you with a review of your policies to identify any gaps or areas in need of improvement… plus, a multitude of additional HR tailored services and support to ensure you better manage your workplace and workforce.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
Akyra can help your business to assist and support all your questions and concerns related to sexual harassment in the workplace. Please contact Akyra on 07 3204 8830 or book a free 30-minute consultation for an obligation-free conversation.
Disclaimer – Reliance on Content
The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not intended to be legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.