Because people generally want to see the best in one another, they sometimes shrug off inappropriate conduct. Or, sometimes fear of not being seen as a "team player"—or fear of retaliation—will cause them to simply hope that the problem will go away on its own.
Unfortunately, ignoring inappropriate conduct will most likely not solve the issue and the behavior will continue--perhaps to the point where it becomes illegal sexual harassment.
Employees need to know that if, at any time, they feel uncomfortable about the sexual way a manager or co-worker is acting toward them, they need to speak up. While they may feel like they are the only one who is uncomfortable with the behavior, they probably aren’t. Speaking up may provide courage for others to come forward also.
In a respectful workplace all employees must act as "upstanders" every day, and that includes:
Filtering their words and actions so that their conduct is professional and respectful at work.
Speaking up and addressing inappropriate conduct or sexual harassment when they witness it or hear it.
Supporting colleagues if they feel uncomfortable or harassed, by encouraging them to speak up to the person doing the harassing, their manager, or HR.
For additional training on creating a workplace where employees look out for one another, we recommendGetting Real about Workplace Violence. This program emphasizes a culture of safetyâ one in which employees understand what workplace violence (WPV) is, recognize concerning behaviors, and feel safe reporting their concerns. The program educates and empowers staff in all areas of WPV awareness, prevention, and response.
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