As news headlines continue to draw attention to some of the most well-known individuals in entertainment, politics, and business for engaging in acts of sexual harassment, there have been complaints filed that lack validity. In turn, this has not only harmed the #MeToo movement which is geared toward addressing the issue of sexual misconduct and helping victims who have experienced it, but it has now made it more difficult to discuss the topic as well.
A skit performed on ‘Saturday Night Live’ recently detailed this as it showed a group of friends out to dinner who attempted to discuss the recent case of Aziz Ansari. The “friends” quickly became worried and uncomfortable with the conversation because of the simple fact that what they might say could be misconstrued and/or used against them. While the last few months have been spent recognizing and acknowledging just how common and serious sexual harassment is in all industries, with fallacious claims being filed, it is causing the discussions to simmer as people are now more afraid to speak on the topic.
Because it is important for people to feel safe when discussing sexual harassment, especially employers, we have shared a few tips below for you to consider that might help you if you are struggling with addressing the topic with your staff.
- Watch Your Tone– Your employees are watching your every move to see how you, the boss, is handling the issue of sexual harassment. As a manager or supervisor, be sure you speak genuinely and authentically on the topic. Avoid telling staff that the HR department is making you talk about the issue or address it in a meeting. The fact is, it is a real issue, one that has caught the attention of millions, and you want to convey that message when speaking to your employees.
- Have staff complete more current and up-to-date training. While an online slideshow or outdated company video is what most employers would use in terms of sexual harassment training, clearly, they weren’t as effective as one would hope seeing that the issue has been, and still is, occurring. Instead, try a new approach and use training materials that actually display the types of behaviors that are problematic. You can also try and approach the topic by addressing it using your own workplace for examples rather than a generic office where certain circumstances might not apply.
- Implement other methods for employees to voice their concerns. Many employees often don’t know how to address an encounter that makes them uncomfortable which could eventually escalate to a sexual harassment complaint. But, an employment attorney who has helped other companies devise ways for employees to express themselves and how they feel says one company uses a color wheel. Each color represents different behaviors. For instance, when a staff member does something that is blue, which represents an inappropriate behavior, they can tell the other person that it’s blue when they do X or Y.
The fact is, the topic of sexual harassment is on the minds of many and while some have been openly addressing the issue, others are now feeling uncomfortable about it. If you are feeling as though you have no one to talk to regarding a recent encounter you may have experienced or are an employer who has a question relating to sexual misconduct, USAttorneys can help get you connected with a sexual harassment lawyer in San Francisco. The attorneys we work with are highly experienced in the field and can provide you with any and all the information you might be looking for.