6 Ways to deal with sexual harassment at the workplace.
Sexual harassment is an attack on the victim’s dignity. It should never be thought of as a casual or “friendly” gesture. It is important to identify and apprehend this misconduct at the earliest. Any person does not deserve this behaviour because of their gender.
Here’s what you can do to take control of the situation.
- Identify whether it is assault: There are some evident and subtle signs of sexual harassment taking place with or around us. It is important to understand what makes us comfortable and what is considered as crossing a boundary. Look for the signs, identify and take note of them.
- Collect/record proof: Try to document proof of misconduct through emails, photos, or video/audio recording. It is important to have proof of the harassment and its impact to register an official complaint with the company or legal authorities.
- Talk to someone. Telling someone you trust about the misconduct helps to get a better insight on how to deal with the person directly or through formal procedure. They might also help in giving an eye-witness account to the concerned people, thereby providing credibility to the victim’s case.
- Follow company’s procedures: Ensure that necessary action is taken against the person by initiating verbal inquiry through the HR department, to make the abuser accept his misconduct and take responsibility for his actions. In some cases, if the employee’s misconduct is proven, he could be asked to simply resign to avoid further embarrassment.
- File a formal complaint. If no action has been taken by the HR department, register a written complaint with the higher authorities so that a formal inquiry is initiated at the higher level.
- Consult a lawyer: Hire a lawyer and take appropriate guidance regarding your rights as the victim. Other legal options outside the workplace like filing an FIR against the employee or a lawsuit against the employer should also be considered.
Remember that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. You should never think twice or hesitate before bringing the misconduct into the authority’s notice, be it the company or the police.