Sexual harassment definitions have certainly changed over the last few decades. And workforces everywhere are grateful for the renewed sense of urgency to develop harassment prevention policies. In 2022, companies are exploring new tactics and proven steps for developing and improving sexual harassment ethics policies. These might help you identify areas for improvement with yours, as well.
1. Define Sexual Harassment Ongoing
Company leaders are embracing the idea that it’s just best to continuously define what sexual harassment is. So many individuals who find themselves in the center of an accusation or violation often say they had no idea their behavior was non-compliant. This is why today’s companies don’t just define what constitutes sexual harassment once. They provide clear defining language and reminders ongoing.
2. Establish a Zero-Tolerance Policy
The next critical component of an effective sexual harassment prevention policy is a well-known, well-promoted zero-tolerance policy for violating behavior. Everyone on your teams, within your affiliate groups, and on your client list should know that, as a matter of policy, your company doesn’t tolerate harassment of any kind. There should be no ambiguity about what you’ll be willing to consider and what you won’t.
3. Set Clear Procedures for Reporting Sexual Harassment
With definitions and policies in place, today’s companies take the next step in describing thorough procedures for reporting violations or offenses. If anyone encounters, experiences, or witnesses sexual harassment, they should know exactly where to go, how to submit a report, and feel comfortable doing so without fear of retaliation.
4. Spell Out What Your Investigation Will Involve
Companies in the beginning of 2022 recognized that more needed to be offered in the way of transparency in investigating. So, many businesses take their sexual harassment policies a step further by outlining what can be expected after a report has been filed. While you can’t disclose specifics, those who report can take solace in knowing you have an official investigation timeline in place. It’s a transparency step that can go a long way in enforcing a zero-tolerance culture.
5. Train Employees Routinely
Your company can establish all the sexual harassment policies and reporting mechanisms in the world and still run into instances of harassment. Today’s business leaders are taking the added measure of routine sexual harassment training of employees internally. Going beyond the annual reminders and new employee onboarding, talking about sexual harassment definitions and violations ongoing ensure teams operate with prevention at the top of mind.
6. Set Up an Ethics Hotline
Another key step thousands of companies are taking this year is the implementation of an ethics hotline. Because hotlines can provide an anonymous and secure reporting channel, anyone can be encouraged to file a report. And ethics hotline reports can be managed sensitively and internally, without embarrassment or fear. They’re a must-have tool in the sexual harassment prevention toolbox for today’s businesses.
Could your sexual harassment prevention policies use a revamp? Do you feel you’re doing enough to combat harassment in your workplace? If you’re not certain, or you have more questions about how ethic hotlines work, contact Ethical Advocate.