Around 32% of women have been subject to unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature and more than one in ten women reported experiencing unwanted sexual touching or attempts to kiss them in the workplace. In addition, one in eight members of the LGBTQ community have reported being seriously sexually assaulted or raped at work.
Like Fraser, these assaults are far from fleeting experiences. Victims often experience deep psychological trauma following the harassment, including episodes of PTSD.
Fraser’s experiences of being assaulted by someone within a position of power, as with other high-profile cases within the ‘Me Too’ movement, will be familiar to many victims. The TUC’s data found that sexual harassment appears to be more likely in situations where there is a substantial power difference between abuser and victim.
Perpetrators may be abusing a position of power by harassing someone they see as less powerful or may feel powerless and use sexual harassment as a means to disempower the target of their harassment and thus increase their own power and status in the workplace.
Nearly one in five respondents to the TUC’s study reported that their harasser was either a direct manager or someone else with direct authority over them.
As the data proves, sexual assault is still disturbingly prevalent at work, and HR has a duty of care to employees to prevent harm to their employers. The first step in ensuring that you create a safe workspace, is to ensure that your culture is one of respect and boundaries.
It's essential that all employees understand that you have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind. Part of this policy is ensuring that workers have a clear path to anonymously raising any harassment they experience or witness.
It’s clear that benefits and rewards are essential to your people, but they must be fit for purpose, easily accessible, and incorporate financial, mental, and physical wellbeing support.
However, only 11% of employees make the most of their workplace benefits and rewards.
When your people don’t engage with the benefits you make available, continuing to offer them may become unsustainable. The cost-of-doing-business crisis rages on – putting pressure on profitability. It’s more important than ever for employee benefits to be cost-effective and deliver an ROI.
In our new e-Book, we explore:
The importance of benefits and rewards
The reasons behind low uptake
Solutions to boost engagement
Firm boundaries should be demonstrated from the top down, with all senior leaders buying into and making employees aware of their commitment to preventing assault. Anti-harassment policies should be regularly communicated and clearly signposted.
Fraser’s return to screens signified a poignant moment in his career. However, it’s important to note that sexual abuse is an experience that is personal to each victim, and as an employer, it’s your job to ensure that only when the victim feels psychologically and physically safe and able to do their job will they consider returning.
Sadly, for many the prospect is simply too traumatic and HR’s job in this case is to make the process of moving on as simple and frictionless as possible. However, prevention is better than cure, and it cannot be overstated how important it is to have stringent anti-harassment policies in place.
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