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When to highlight harassment

When to highlight harassment (Last Updated On: November 21, 2016)

When do you acknowledge sexual harassment and draw the line? For some women it’s too late. Last night SBS broadcasted a gripping episode of Insight, and exposed raw, real life experiences of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

The program focused on what the ramifications of sexual harassment actually are. These women are distraught after incidences experienced in the workplace. It is a serious problem. Employers need to be wary of who, when and where sexual harassment can take place.

All staff need to be taught what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour whilst at work. Unfortunately for some, suggestive remarks, offensive jokes, inappropriate leering and sexual harassment behaviour is a common occurrence.

Women told their stories of being sexually assaulted at work parties, sent pornographic images via work emails and recalled inappropriate comments on attire which are daily. The brave Jemma Ewin told her story of being sexually harassed by a colleague, who she believes drugged her, took her from a bar back to their office and assaulted her. She recalls regaining consciousness some hours later and as a result of her ordeal had significant physical injuries including whiplash and haemorrhaging. She felt like she had been thrashed. There were no rape charges made and the accused “sexual predator” still works with females.

When sexual harassment occurs, where you can turn?

Human resource teams took a hit suggesting that some do not hold the power should a person in a managerial position be the perpetrator of sexual harassment. Ewin’s HR team had not arranged for her to go to police and her workplace was not supportive, they simply said “sometimes funny things happen at work”.

When sexual harassment is experienced there are very low incidences of reporting. Power struggles in the workplace are to blame. Naivety and not knowing what reportable conduct is, is a big problem. The discussion of young trainees trying to point out the wrong doing and its implications on career progression and the way it will make them appear at work expressed that so many have not come forward.

If you are an employer, and do not currently have a sexual harassment policy in place to protect your staff, call Employsure. Employsure offers 24/7 advice to businesses whenever a problem may arise and can implement sexual harassment policies into your employee contracts. If your managerial team or HR department needs extra support in identifying sexual harassment Employsure can help. Call Employsure today on 1300 651 415.

You can watch the Insight episode here.

Sourced: SBS News

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