How to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has once again placed the spotlight on sexual harassment reporting. The #MeToo campaign soon followed, encouraging people to speak out if they’ve ever been sexually harassed or abused.

Victims of sexual harassment are often reluctant to report incidents for fear of retaliation or being disbelieved, especially in the workplace, but there are things you can do to help.

Tips for organisations to encourage and support employees to report sexual harassment in the workplace are:

1. Take all complaints seriously. Investigate promptly and professionally (investigation means to gather information and evidence).

2. Provide support to individuals making the complaint. Consider temporary change of reporting structure if relevant during investigation, keep complainant informed of what is happening

3. Train managers in how to handle these reports (or get external expertise)

4. Be proactive. Organisations should have a stance/policy on bullying and harassment, dignity at work policy and acceptable workplace banter. The policy/stance should put onus on the colleagues who are not victims reporting incidents that happen to others.

If you are unsure of how to handle sexual harassment in the workplace, contact the PPM team for advice and support. You can call us on 0191 516 6815 or email  enquiries@ppmnortheast.co.uk.