Organizations intend to keep their workplaces happy, relaxed and productive. But companies dealing with employee harassment at workplaces is a reality and each company has its own rules, regulations, policies and procedures to deal with it. Harassment could be of many kinds. It is basically an unwanted behavior or hostile conduct towards a person on the basis of his color, nationality, sexual orientation, age, gender or any other personal characteristic. It can also be of a sexual kind where it involves unwanted, un-instigated, hostile, sexual conduct.
An employee wants to be treated and compensated fairly at an organization. Ethical behavior and sound people policy provide the backdrop to the company to set the guidelines for a Harassment free workplace which an employee is entitled too.
It is the responsibility of those in charge, to provide a safe, harassment free, productive workplace to employees. There should be clear organizational strategy to deal with employee harassment. Communication related to expected right conduct should be in the company’s handbook and any violation should be dealt with firmly and effectively.
Making the workplace hostile – is harassment. Dealing with employee harassment is important. If a work place is hostile, intimidating or offensive it will interfere with an employee’s work performance. A hostile atmosphere can be created by any one – a manager, a supervisor, vendors, customers etc. Care should be taken to ensure that harmonious and work conducive environment is provided to the employees.
Unwelcome leering, touching, sending offensive emails, sexual innuendos, abusing, commenting or joking about sex, gender, race, demeaning and vulgar actions, one needs to be protected against it all. Workplace harassment lowers morale, lowers individual’s self esteem, lowers productivity, brings disrepute to the company and if the employees press legal charges, the organization can be held liable and may need to pay damages.
The company must have a harassment preventive policy where the kind of behavior that is unaccepted at the workplace should be listed in an organized manner. There should be clear guidelines about dealing with employee harassment; on how should one initiate the proceedings, the details about investigation process etc. A proper mechanism should be in place to prevent and promptly correct the things as and when they start to go wrong as any kind of negativity is bound to affect the culture and productivity of the company. The employees should know about the legal remedies available that protects them from any kind of harassment.
If you feel you are being harassed, know your rights, inform the authorities, have proper documentation of the hostile behavior. An employee who is being harassed can contact his or her supervisor to report about the harassment. If the supervisor fails to take any action, then the company can be held liable at a later stage to have not taken the issue seriously and being ineffective in dealing with employee harassment.
Employee right protection forms and letters are easily available online. Such documents can help one record events properly so that one can present the case in an effective manner when needed. It is very important for the employee to be aware of their rights and supervisors to know their powers in effectively dealing with employee harassment.