Sexual Harassment is not new in any workplace. We hear a number of stories, incidents, and issues regarding the same every day. Sexual Harassment is definitely against the law that comes under Equal Opportunity Act 2010. It is basically unwanted sexual behavior in the form of verbal, physical, or written that can make an employee feel offended, intimidated, or humiliated. It is just a behavior that is not acceptable and mutually agreed upon.
Sexual Harassment at the workplace can be further categorized in three forms:
- Harassment at work
- At the places where official events or meetings happen or where employees go to carry their work-related commitments.
- Between the employees sharing the same workplace.
All the employees have to know the fact that sexual harassment needs to be taken as a serious concern in the first instance itself. It needs not be repeated at any cost in the workplace. If anyone feels the behavior sexually offended, they are eligible to get them booked under the law. Sexual harassment is against the law under the Equal Opportunity Act. Some of the incidents of sexual harassment may also be considered offenses under criminal law. These can include indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking, or threatening communications, such as letters, emails, phone calls, text messages, and/ or social networking posts. Employers are advised to consider reporting such criminal offenses to the police immediately.
Other than proper policies against sexual harassment, women employees should have a clear idea of how they can manage the situations themselves.
Educate Yourself. It is the fundamental aspect to know your rights at the workplace as well. Every organization has some policies made and that can be studied anytime from the employee handbook given to you. Make sure you read all the instructions carefully and educate yourself about the persons to contact if at all you feel sexually harassed.
Inform them you didn’t like it. If at any point in time, you feel any action or any statement offended and make you uncomfortable, make sure you raise your voice a lighter louder than your normal volume and say it clearly that you didn’t like it and to never repeat it. If someone laughs and says that he was just joking, say clearly that it is not a joke for you and you won’t tolerate it anymore.
Respect your feelings. A women’s instinct is very powerful and if you feel that any of the recent actions are inappropriate, believe yourself. Never think that you might be over-reacting. Let them know that you understand and don’t like it at all. Do not keep quiet just keeping everyone happy with you. Being relaxed at the workplace and happy is the most important factor to give your 100% performance.
Be informed and keep everyone informed. If you have an employee asking you to go out for a movie or drink after work, you can say yes and even ask few other colleagues as well to go along. Even if there was any wrong intention in asking for an after-work company, the situation’s public nature will keep him uncomfortable and quiet.
Report it immediately. No matter, if there is any policy in your workplace or not to keep every incident in the written form, make sure you report the incident to the concerned person with all the details mentioned like the incident, date, witnesses if any, the place where the harassment took place, time, by whom to whom and all the others you may think important. Keep a copy of the report with you.
An employee has all the rights reserved to work in a harassment-free environment. SO, respect yourself, your rights and be vocal against any toleration of any offended situations.