Harassment – know when it’s happening in your work place


Harassment – know when it’s happening in your work place

Oh, how the world has changed just in the space of 5 years.

And change is more so prevalent when it comes to how we treat each other as individuals, partners, colleagues and as human beings in general.

The #metoo movement has had an incredible impact in bringing awareness to sexual harassment and harassment in general.

We are now much more vigilant and mindful of our behaviours.

However, when it comes to harassment, would you be able to spot it if it’s happening – especially in your workplace?

Employers are bound by a duty of care to provide as safe work environment for their employees.

While most employers go to great lengths to ensure safety by minimising any harm that may be caused by doing the work itself, they miss a bigger cause of harm – one that is psychological in nature.

Bullying and harassment are often used in the same sentence and in some cases, interchangeably.

There are distinctions though.

Bullying tends to be more open, overt and much easier to pick out.

Some examples of bullying behaviour include:

  • Unreasonably criticising someone in public
  • Abusive, insulting or offensive language
  • Deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
  • Shouting or yelling at someone
  • Detrimental action such as unreasonably withholding information needed for work, denying resources or setting unreasonable deadlines.

Also, bullying tends to be repetitive on ongoing.

Harassment though, of any nature, can be harder to pick and often the person doing the harassing can hide behind any number of excuses:

  • I was just being welcoming and friendly
  • I was joking
  • He/she is reading too much into this
  • I’m happily married with a family, why would I do this

While sexual harassment tends to be easier to notice and prove, harassment in general can take on very subtle forms.

Have a look at the following scenarios:

  • The supervisor/manager places rigorous demands and deadlines for a job/task
  • Telling jokes about sensitive issues in ear shot of others
  • Colleagues who you work closely with you go off to lunch without you
  • A male nurse gets a comment ‘you don’t see too many guys do this sort of job’
  • Asking too many questions about someone else’s personal life

Each of these scenarios on the surface seem reasonable and, in some cases, innocuous.

However, they have been deemed to be harassing behaviours that have led to consequences for the person doing the harassing.

And of course, if proven, the business as a whole also suffers – poor morale, lost productivity and financial loss (fines).

As managers and employers, it’s our responsibility to be vigilant and alert to any behaviours that could be classified as harassment.

Stay on top and in tune with your employees – and while customers are vital, your employees are the reason you have customers.

if you need any assistance please don’t hesitate to contact us  on +61 29634 5912