Sexual Harassment in Manufacturing

In your manufacturing company, you take every necessary step to ensure the safety of your staff. Plant floor workers, production line workers, packers, fillers, welders, and machine operators all need to know how to avoid dangerous situations. They also need to know where to go when they need to report an unsafe practice.

But what about sexual harassment? Are you confident your teams know how to identify it when they see it? Do they understand how to report instances? And more importantly, are they comfortable and confident in reporting without retaliation?

Today’s manufacturing environment is more diverse than ever. And if you’re looking to make improvements regarding how your company handles sexual harassment, these are ideas to consider.

Start by Addressing Sexual Harassment with Improved Training

Sure, a sexual harassment training mandate helps. But in today’s manufacturing environments, you’ll want to take additional steps for improvement. Start with your training efforts. Defining sexual harassment isn’t often enough and can end up isolating employees who, in turn, don’t know how they can act around others. Explore ways to constructively introduce acceptable ways of interacting with others without just condemning the acts themselves. Keep a healthy conversation about awareness, definitions, and next steps open for all genders represented on your plant floor.

Managers and Leadership Positions Need Refreshers

Manager training is equally important when addressing sexual harassment. It clarifies to all leadership staff that as managers, they need to work together to combat incidents. When a report of sexual harassment is levied, all managers should recognize and intervene. And just like employee-level training, don’t simply define sexual harassment. Provide clear next steps for action to follow through on investigations, interviews, and determinations.

The Bystander Intervention Culture

The EEOC calls it “bystander intervention.” But what it really means is developing a company culture from front-line workers to the board of directors table that promotes, “if you see something, say something.” Everyone is responsible for sexual harassment prevention and has a duty to report incidents that require addressing. So don’t just make it a production line effort or warehouse effort. Ensure the sexual harassment conversation takes place at every level of business to encourage bystander intervention ongoing.

Instituting an Ethics Hotline for Sexual Harassment Reporting

One of the best methods of addressing sexual harassment in manufacturing is to institute an ethics hotline for reporting. With an ethics hotline, whistleblowers can safely alert the necessary parties to incidents on the plant floor in the manufacturing facility. Calling in is entirely anonymous, protecting the employee from potential retaliation of any kind. And it makes it easier for everyone in the company to report violations they experience or witness at any time.

If your manufacturing facility is looking to make improvements in sexual harassment policies, consider some of these strategies. And if you need to introduce an ethics hotline into your company’s efforts to prevent sexual harassment, let Ethical Advocate help!