Incidents or allegations of sexual harassment or assault should be a great concern for all companies, big or small. Reports and news of this nature have been of such great interest not only to the industry the company is a part of, but to the greater society itself as well. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, even more should sexual harassment or assault be a point to be addressed for organizations and their employers.
The first concern of an organization in this day and age is to ensure that employees understand the boundaries of the written and unwritten rules by which they have to function in the workplace. This is to ensure that nothing escalates to the point that the assistance of a harassment or assault lawyer would be required. Prevention is still better than the cure, and training is the best preventative measure a company could employ.
The scope of the training should revolve around awareness and discussion. Most times, incidents of harassment, or even assault, can simply stem from ignorance, especially of the changing sentiments about and boundaries of what acceptable behavior is. It is imperative that employees first see what harassment and assault look like in order for them to be more self-aware and be better able to protect themselves and others. Increasing awareness would then open discussion and continue to develop a consciousness for the proper behavior within, and possibly even without, the work environment.
This spotlight on such incidents and allegations is the burden that Human Resources departments and company executives have to carry. Training must then include such groups and individuals within its scope to ensure proper handling of the matter, especially should workplace misconduct information and prevention fail. This is to ensure that all parties involved are protected. These parties include the accuser, the accused, the company, and all the other stakeholders connected to the company. This protection extends not only to their reputations, but to the process and investigation itself. There must be fairness to ensure that any result has legitimacy within the organization.
Workplace misconduct is a serious matter that needs to be addressed. Ideally, prevention is better than having to deal with an incident or an allegation. Training those within the company, at all levels, is the solution. It avoids complication and possible escalation to the need for a harassment or assault lawyer with whom to navigate the complexities of what is now appropriate or inappropriate behavior.