Combatting Sexual Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace

Does your company have formal, thorough policies against sexual harassment and bulling in the workplace?

A company policy on Sexual Harassment and Bullying should include:

1. The objective (purpose of the policy);

2. Who it covers (all employees, management, executives, etc.);

3. Definitions of sexual harassment, sexual communication, and workplace bullying;

4. Examples of behaviors that will not be tolerated;

5. How to report sexual harassment or workplace bullying;

6. An investigation process when harassment or bullying is reported;

7. Personal coaching and counseling should be provided to accusers as well as those accused; and

8. Consequences of the inappropriate workplace behavior (action that will be taken).

Upon writing and adopting a Sexual Harassment and Bullying policy, All board members, executive staff and management should receive training on bullying and sexual harassment as well as respectful communication and conflict resolution.

* The objectives should include:

  • A non-discrimination policy and a deep commitment to a safe workplace environment

  • Improving communication

  • Improving trust in the relationship between the Board, management, and the employees

  • Increase people’s ability to communicate honestly, by reducing fear of repercussions

  • Consistent follow through on the investigation process and decisions

  • Developing short and long term goals for progress

  • Exhibiting and maintaining professionalism

This posting was adapted from the guidance and tools within The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, Mitchell and Gamlem, 2015.

If you are stressed about sexual harassment and bullying in your workplace (either because you are personally impacted or because you lead a team that is), conflict resolution interventions may be the key to get things back on track. One on one coaching can help an individual talk through the impact of the harassment and figure out what they want to happen next and what they need to heal. Mediation and conflict resolution trainings are also a wonderful way to get people talking and shine a light on inappropriate behaviors.

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