Sexual harassment is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being, as well as on their work performance. It is important for organizations to have a clear policy in place to address and prevent sexual harassment, and for HR to play a key role in implementing and enforcing this policy. Here are some ways in which HR can help address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace:
- HR should be trained to understand and implement the company’s sexual harassment policy / service rules (code of conduct) of the organizations. This includes knowing how to handle reports of sexual harassment, letting IC conduct investigations, and how to take appropriate disciplinary action based on IC’s inputs.
- Ensure and assist management to establish company PoSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace) policy. This policy should clearly define what constitutes sexual harassment, and outline the steps that employees can take if they experience or witness sexual harassment.
- Communicating and implementing the policy is crucial. HR should ensure that all employees are aware of the policy and know how to report incidents of sexual harassment.
- Implementing gender equality practices can also help prevent sexual harassment. This includes promoting diversity and inclusion, and providing equal opportunities for all employees.
- Bystander training can empower employees to speak up and intervene if they witness sexual harassment. This can create a culture where sexual harassment is not tolerated.
- Providing continuous trainings on awareness to employees, as well as leadership, can help create a culture of respect and understanding. This can include trainings on topics such as consent, boundaries, and how to be an ally to those who have experienced sexual harassment. HR should not shy away from organizing the trainings by external certified PoSH enablers if that is the need of the hour.
- It is important to ignore hierarchy, and recognize that anyone, regardless of their position or status, can be a victim of sexual harassment. HR should ensure that reports of sexual harassment are taken seriously and treated with sensitivity and confidentiality.
- Harassment reporting mechanisms should be in place, should be easy to use and well communicated to the employees.
- Creating a fearless environment where employees feel safe to report incidents of sexual harassment is crucial. This includes addressing the fear of retaliation and ensuring that employees who report sexual harassment are protected from any form of retribution.
- HR should be proactive in addressing and preventing sexual harassment, rather than being reactive. This can include regularly checking in with employees and seeking feedback on the company’s policies and practices.
- HR should be approachable and available to employees who may need support or guidance. This can include empowering / assisting IC to counsel victims of sexual harassment and ensuring that confidentiality is maintained.
- It is important for HR to be aware of their legal responsibilities when it comes to addressing and preventing sexual harassment. This can include implementing the recommendations of IC in terms of taking appropriate disciplinary action when necessary.
Overall, HR plays a vital role in addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. By helping in implementation of effective policies and practices, HR can create a safe and inclusive environment where all employees are treated with respect and dignity.
If you are interested in creating a harassment-free work environment for your employees, reach out to our certified PoSH experts. These professionals have extensive experience in this field and are able to provide end to end PoSH services including training to ensure that your workplace is in compliance with PoSH guidelines. Contact them today to learn more and take a first step towards creating a safe and respectful work environment.