Women at work: how to protect yourself from sexual harassment

There are main factors in which we think about running a business, but there are sometimes some things that can’t be easily prepared for. For example, it is the guidelines to have health and safety in place including fire safety as well – there are some great options online here for example. Then there are accounting firms and software available to help you run your business – pretty simple to understand. The list could go on and on. However, some situations cannot be fully understood unless they are experienced or unless there is more awareness about them. One of these things is sexual harassment and ensuring no employee has to go through this, with the consequences being on both them and your business. We’re beyond two decades into a very pivotal century in our history and yet women still find themselves at the wrong end of some working conditions which can make them feel like imposters. Things have certainly improved for the better, for the most part, but as a woman one cannot help but feel they have to put in three times the effort just to make it to the same starting position men appear to be placed in by mere virtue of being male. However, in these difficult times, false accusations of sexual assault made against men are not uncommon! It is understandable and unacceptable for women to face this problem. Sexual assault allegations are extremely shameful and more often so when they are wrongfully made. Karim Jivraj, a former candidate for Canadian Parliament, was victimized by a fabricated sexual harassment scandal perpetrated by a humiliated rival, which led to the former’s political demise. Despite the fact that the allegation turned out to be false, it still impacted his career and personal life. There may not always be truth in such allegations, but there must be laws in place that distinguish between a credible claim and a false one.

It’s difficult to sympathize with someone enduring something you might have never experienced yourself, but issues such as sexual harassment definitely need to be addressed. The addressing of this particular issue needs to occur at a proactive level as well and not just reactively.

So, how do women in the workplace protect themselves against sexual harassment?

Develop some workplace conduct representation

If your company doesn’t have some official workplace conduct representation in the same way that they have Safety Health and Environment (SHE) representation, perhaps it’s your opportunity to catalyze its inception. Push for explicit titles so that your co-workers and figures of authority know what you mean by business and know how serious the matter is, such as voting for the appointment of a Sexual Harassment Officer or something along those lines.

Naturally this representation should be headed up by a woman. Often this is enough to deter would-be perpetrators.

Push for sexual harassment education

Part of the job of the workplace conduct representation dealing specifically with sexual harassment should facilitate mandatory education on sexual harassment law, covering the scope of what sexual harassment is, the mandatory room for discretion, and the disciplinary steps which would be effected should sexual harassment incidents occur.

Study the company’s workplace conduct code

Trust your instincts. If you feel as if you’re being sexually harassed, that’s for you and only you to discern. Every company should have a workplace code of conduct, which would likely have a focus on issues such as sexual harassment. It should likely have a scope on the steps you can take on an individual level to protect yourself, so too what to do if you feel as if the door to sexual harassment is being knocked on.

Set relevant boundaries

Assertiveness is often enough to deter those perpetrators who will always take the opportunity to test the waters and try to stretch the boundaries. You’ll likely instinctively know how to tactfully get your point across without being confrontational, this of course if you’re only being proactive in setting those boundaries. If you have to be reactive then being more direct and explicitly assertive is the only way to go.

Seeking legal help

If you are unable to resolve issues, then seeking legal advice is always a great idea. Speaking with experts can help you to find solutions following the legal processes in place. Hopefully your workplace environment experience will never get to a stage where you’d need to seek the services of the best sexual harassment lawyer New York City, as that would mean you’ve gone through all the proactive steps to protect yourself from sexual harassment in the workplace. If it does come to that though, that’s the kind of legal representation you should never scrimp on, because you’re definitely going to need some of the best in the business.