What Franchise Business Owners Should Know about Sexual Harassment
Everyone has the right to feel safe, comfortable, and at ease in their workplace, educational institute, or anywhere else that they frequent. Despite the modern times we live in, sexual harassment is still a pressing issue in our society. But, what is sexual harassment, and how can franchise business owners prevent it from happening? Sexual harassment is behavior that is characterized by inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in the workplace or other professional situations. This behavior can contribute to a hostile work environment. According to the Department of Labor, there are several behaviors that can contribute to a hostile work environment:
- Crude jokes
- Remarks about someone’s physical appearance
- Obscene gestures
- Displaying sexually suggestive photographs
There are various types and degrees of sexual harassment, and all of them are penalized by law. Unfortunately, people don’t always know how to react when they are sexually harassed, which is why we need to raise more awareness about the topic. The need to keep educating people about sexual harassment is dire, and here are several reasons why.
Preventing Sexual Harassment at Your Franchise Business
One way to prevent your franchise from becoming a hostile work environment is to make it clear that you have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. This policy should be put down in writing in the employee’s handbook. All employees should read the policy and sign it to ensure that they understand it. You should also have a clear-cut process for handling sexual harassment complaints. It is important that employees know that they can come to you and feel comfortable talking about their complaint.
When a complaint is made, you should work to take action quickly. To do this, you should talk to the employee making the compliant, the person who has been accused, and any other people who can provide information. To ensue the privacy of everyone involved, these complaints should be kept as confidential as possible. To decrease incidents of sexual harassment generally, you should foster a workplace where employees feel comfortable telling others to stop when they feel comments are going too far.
For example, a female employee should know that she can tell a male employee to stop making suggestive comments without fear of being unheard. As a franchise owner, you can also be proactive and point out potentially problematic situations before an employee even makes a complaint. You can take the employee to the side and resolve the problem privately before it escalates further.
Putting an End to Power Imbalance
One of the most common features of this horrid act is the prevalence of power imbalance. The harasser always feels they have power over their victim; this hinders the victim’s ability to resist or voice their discomfort. Consent is key, and not every yes is an invitation to proceed with any sexual act, whether it is verbal or physical. Many find themselves forced or pressured to agree to certain sexual advances, which worsens and exacerbates the situation. Sexual harassment persists not because perpetrators do not realize they are wrong but because of their firm belief that they will not be punished or get caught.
Learning More About What It Entails
Sexual harassment can take many different forms, and it affects both men and women. There is verbal harassment, including suggestive remarks or looks, inappropriate jokes, comments pointing towards sexual acts, and verbal requests for sexual favors. Discussing any sexual fantasies, relations, or topics at school or work is unacceptable and qualifies harassment.
As for physical harassment, it includes any unwanted touch or sexual advances. A person exposing themselves or purposely performing d any sexual activity in front of another also qualifies as physical harassment. Based on the information in hipaaexams.com/compliance-training-courses/Sexual-Harassment-Training, sexual harassment claims at work fall under two categories: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. The former includes any sexual favors asked in exchange for a certain benefit, while the latter is when the work environment becomes too uncomfortable due to inappropriate conduct and language.
Supporting the Victims
Nobody ever asks to be sexually harassed; all people must have equal rights of freedom and a set of boundaries. However, we all should understand the reasons why many sexual harassment victims choose not to speak up about their experiences. Victims can typically feel humiliation and shame of being violated. Their personal space was invaded in one of the worst ways possible that they tend to blame themselves for what happened. This breeds feelings of denial towards the abusive treatment they received was. Fear of the consequences can consume a sexual harassment victim. The person becomes terrified of losing a particular position, turned down in a job, fails a test, or loses credibility. In addition to others, such reasons are compelling enough for them not to come forward, but this serves as an incentive to back them properly and give them all the needed care.
Knowing How to React to an Incident
Whether you are being harassed or it is happening to someone you know, being educated in that arena will help you handle the situation. Remember that sexual harassment is illegal, and it is also extremely unethical, so the law is on your side. Depending on the situation, many things can be done to help your standing more. For instance, you can save any piece of evidence, such as photos, texts, or videos. If you have a diary, you can write down what happened and what you did to stop it. You do not have to deal with harassment alone; tell someone and get help. Do not be afraid of the consequences. Even if this leads to you leaving a workplace or education, you will still win because the negative mental, physical, and emotional effects will be more severe.
Filing sexual harassment complaints or claims will get you the justice you deserve.
Sexual harassment is a despicable act and a heinous crime. While the rules, regulations, and policies in any institution strictly prohibit such acts, sexual harassment still remains a prevalent problem in our society. This is why we need to raise awareness about its comprehensive definition, types, ways of prevention, as well as the necessary legal action the victims need to take. Sexual harassment training and education will positively affect our society. Because prevention is always better than cure, addressing the root cause of the problem is the best course of action.