It’s in the news daily. Sexual harassment accusations are flying everywhere and affecting the rich, the famous and the politically connected. That’s the news we see. What we aren’t seeing is what goes on in the common workplace.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) did a workplace survey on the topic and found sexual harassment is underreported. Part of the reason SHRM says is because employees are unaware of the anti-harassment polices their employers have in place. It also found many do not know how to report what’s happening to them without bringing harm to themselves.
Those are conclusions from comments by human resource managers and non-manager employees. SHRM’s director of workforce analytics is Evren Esen who said the study found:
• 11% of non-management employees say they experienced some form of sexual harassment in the last 12 months
• 76% said they did not report it for a number of reasons:
• Fear of retaliation
• A belief that nothing would change
None of this is a surprise to Esen or to SHRM. It is in line with a report issued earlier by the Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC).
“It appears that employees don’t feel that they have the power to bring allegations forward in a way that won’t harm them,” said Esen said.
• 36% of HR professionals say they have reported at least one sexual harassment charge to their organization in the last 12 months
• 36% of those same professionals say they have seen an increase in the number of allegations in the last year
• 57% of HR professionals think unreported incidents occur to a small extent int heir organization
• 35% of non-manager employees believe that
SHRM’s survey found verbal harassment — including unwanted sexual advances via words and comments — is the most common form of sexual harassment.
John Taylor Jr. is the CEO of SHRM and said, “Unspoken cultural norms can allow inappropriate behavior. Sometimes the harasser might not realize that what is being said is inappropriate. This is why a culture of respect and training are important.”
What’s surprising is the number of employees not aware of the sexual harassment policies of their employers:
94% of HR professionals surveyed say their organizations have them
But 22% of non-management explores do not know for sure they exist
“A lack of information exists for some employees. The research findings suggest that, in some cases, policies are discussed as part of new-hire orientation and then shared only during training, which occurs once a year or once every two years,” Esen said.
Companies and HR department — Esen said — have “more work to do to create environments that emphasize respect and minimize the fear of retaliation.”
That may already be happening:
• 62% of HR professionals say their company is reassessing those policies and the organizations culture to identify potential risks
• 32% have made changes in sexual harassment training in the last year
• Included in the changes are workplace civility and training that’s tailored to the work force
Taylor said reinforcing these policies by leaders and managers is a good thing. “If it’s not part of your culture to be talking about this, then it is going to be harder to curb inappropriate behaviors,” Taylor said.
Source link: Insurance Journal