Your business, your responsibility.
Claims of sexual harassment can have a drastic impact on your business both culturally and financially. As an owner, it’s your responsibility not only to be informed and aware of workplace sexual harassment best practices and procedures, but to create a workplace free from harassment and abuse. We’re here to help.
Enough Already provides support and strengthens your company by offering education and tools. Our team will work with you to respond to your unique workplace needs and help to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment in your workplace.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that can manifest in many ways: verbal, physical or visual. It may be one incident or a series of incidents, but is always unsolicited and unwelcome.
Sexual harassment is an expression of power. It may be accompanied by threats, promises or abuse. Most sexual harassment occurs in the workplace and the harasser is usually someone in authority who uses their power to intimidate another. The victim often hesitates to complain for fear of reprisals or economic consequences.
What isn’t considered sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment prevention does not rule out office romance, flirtation, or good-natured jesting that is accepted by both parties. Sexual harassment refers only to unwelcome behaviour that the harasser knew, or should have known, would be unwanted.
For more details on what constitutes sexual harassment, read the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace”
Some of the many forms sexual harassment can take include:
- sexual remarks
- “jokes” with sexual overtones
- a sexual advance or invitation
- displaying offensive pictures or photographs
- physical contact (touching, patting, pinching)
- sexual and physical assault
Did you know?
Men and women have different perceptions of sexual harassment. What may be a lighthearted joke to many men may be offensive to many women. In fact, the courts have said that women are more adversely affected by sexual harassment than men. That makes it critical to interpret sexual harassment as any behaviour the victim perceives as offensive.
What’s my role/responsibility as an employer?
Employers are legally responsible for creating a safe, healthy and respectful workplace free from sexual harassment and related retaliation.
Whether you’re aware of sexual harassment or not, as an employer you’re responsible for the actions of management and supervisory personnel, and for harassment by non-supervisory personnel in certain circumstances.
Some things you can do to help keep your business harassment-free:
Create policies surrounding workplace harassment and regularly review them to ensure they’re up-to-date.
Proactively speak to your employees about harassment.
Ensure your stance is clear and the method for reporting harassment is easy to access and understand.
Enforce policies when necessary.
Zero tolerance is the only way to keep your business free from discrimination.
Address concerns immediately.
Waiting can send the wrong message to employees.
Stay up to date
Regularly refresh and update your understanding of workplace sexual harassment best practices and procedures.
Engage independent external support (such as an HR consultant) if you experience difficulty in addressing issues.
Get training for your business
Enough Already can help you and your business stay up to date with workplace sexual harassment workshops and training.
A harassment-free workplace is just good business.
Sexual harassment can be extremely emotionally and psychologically damaging. Not only does it leave an employee feeling humiliated, degraded or angry, it can also impair job performance, decrease job satisfaction, and cause headaches, nervousness, insomnia and anxiety attacks. As a result, workplaces may see an increase in absenteeism and use of sick leave.
Sexual harassment in the work place can lead to:
- Toxic workplace culture and low morale
- High absenteeism and turnover
- Significant time loss for both employees and managers
- Costly investigations into incidents
Proactive harassment prevention is typically far less expensive and time-consuming than trying to repair the damage after an incident. Plus, it demonstrates to employees, customers and other organizations what your business stands for.