Female employees should be able to go to work without fear of experiencing some type of inappropriate behavior or mistreatment from other employees or coworkers. Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Florida employers should strive to make their workplaces safe for everyone, and that means taking steps to combat sexual harassment.
Studies find that over half of all women say they’ve experienced some form of sexual harassment while at work. In fact, 54% of female employees have filed a harassment complaint with their employer. Employers are responsible for listening to women, addressing their concerns, and taking quick and decisive action when someone is perpetrating harassment in a professional setting. There are specific things companies can do to improve their practices and reduce the chance of a female employee experiencing this while at work.
What should employers do?
Companies should have strong policies regarding how they handle instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. One important thing they should do is regularly review and update polices as necessary. What worked in the past may not work now. Other important considerations for employers include:
- Give employees options about where to file their complaints. Females may not feel comfortable speaking with a male about harassment, and different options allow them to speak freely about what they experienced.
- Employers should provide regular harassment training, and they should mandate attendance. No one is exempt from learning more about how to spot, prevent and address harassment in the workplace.
- If an employer sees a troubling behavior from an employee or witnesses something happening, he or she should address it, even if there is no formal complaint from a worker.
- Employers have to be willing to terminate or suspend an offending party, no matter who they are. Decisive action is the only way to handle harassment complaints.
By taking a strong position against sexual harassment in the workplace, employers can protect the rights of victims. When other women know their employer believes and supports them, they will feel more comfortable about coming forward themselves.
Are you a victim?
Speaking to your employer and filing a harassment complaint is an important step for you if you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, it may also be appropriate to purse compensation through a civil claim. While this cannot reverse what happened to you, it can allow you to claim damages for your pain and suffering.