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How do you end sexual harassment at work?

There's been a growing sense across the nation that it's time to stop tolerating sexual harassment in the workplace. Millions of people have taken to social media in the last few months to include themselves in the swelling number of victims who have endured harassment or show their support for those victims.

Yet, a lot of people aren't sure how to stop it. It's one thing to show your support for the victims of harassment by adding your name to a tweet or signing an electronic petition -- it's another thing to confront it inside your own office.

What steps, exactly, can one individual take that will help stop sexual predators and make the workplace safe for everyone? Try these:

  1. Show your support for the victim. If you see sexual harassment in the workplace, simply raising your objections lets the harasser know that his or her actions aren't acceptable and the victim know that he or she isn't alone.
  2. Turn in anyone you see sexually harassing one of your co-workers. The victim of sexual harassment doesn't have to be the one to file a complaint with human resources. Every employee can -- and should -- address the issue formally.
  3. Ask for training. If it's been a while since your company gave out training designed to reinforce the policies against sexual harassment, a refresher course might stop something before it gets started. Keep in mind, training isn't just for harassers -- it helps victims realize that they don't have to tolerate the abuse.
  4. Ask your company to use outside investigators to handle sexual harassment complaints if it doesn't already do so. If you're in a position to effect that change, do it. An outside investigation helps protect the privacy of victims, provides transparency and retains neutrality.
  5. Find out if your company has a problem. If you run a company, you may be hopelessly unaware of sexual harassment that's happening right behind your back. Anonymous surveys are one tool used to gather information that victims may be too afraid to put forward themselves.

Ultimately, preventing workplace sexual harassment from happening in the first place is far better than letting that sort of conduct go unchecked until a lawsuit finally happens.

Source: Fortune, "From #MeToo to Now What? 7 Actions That Could Actually Help Stop Sexual Harassment," Claire Zillman, accessed Feb. 02, 2018

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