How can you address non-physical sexual harassment?

Workplaces across the state work hard to ensure a safe environment for all employees. Unfortunately, some instances of harassment still occur. Reports of harassment continue to come in. What can you do about it?

Nonphysical sexual harassment in particular often slides under the radar for numerous reasons. Figuring out a plan to address and combat this growing problem is crucial.

What is non-physical sexual harassment?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses the issues sexual harassment presents. In particular, the focus is on nonphysical sexual harassment. This type of harassment comes in different forms. For example, talking about someone’s sexual life behind their back falls under this category. So does the coercion or threat of an employee to perform sexual favors in exchange for something. Finally, gender-based derogatory remarks fall under this category, too. You cannot tell a female coworker to “get back to the kitchen”, as an example.

Addressing this form of harassment

There are many ways to address this. The first is to ensure that everyone knows your company will take nonphysical sexual harassment as seriously as any other form. Do not brush off cases that do not involve physical contact.

Next, make sure your human relations department is doing its job. Are the members of it reliable and trustworthy? Do they make others feel welcome and safe? If you need to, take a survey to see what the general opinion on HR is. Consider implementing any suggestions you get or making fixes to problems you see mentioned.

Always act quickly, too. The longer you let a problem fester, the more of an issue it can turn out to be in the future. Fast action now saves heartache, time and resources later.

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