When you go to work, you likely have the expectation that you will be able to do your job in an environment that is safe, respectful and appropriate. While many workplaces meet these standards, you may find that your workplace, unfortunately, falls short of what you hoped it would be. You could even find yourself the victim of annoying or inappropriate behaviors, or even sexual harassment. Victims of workplace harassment often feel uncertain about what they experienced or unsure if they can speak out.
Employers have the obligation to provide their employees with a work environment that is free from illegal behaviors, such as harassment or discrimination. There are steps that Hawaii employers can take that will allow them to effectively fight sexual harassment and reduce the chance that their employees will experience this type of treatment at work.
Prevention is critical
While employers cannot control every action that employees make, there are things that they can do that reduce the chance of harassment taking place. Protecting the rights and interests of all employees should be a priority for every employer, regardless of the type of work the company does. One of the first things is to understand the types of behaviors that are sexual harassment. Fighting sexual harassment starts with the following:
- Train employees to recognize the signs of harassment and how to avoid this type of behavior.
- Create a system by which employees can report incidents of sexual harassment in a way that is confidential and not intimidating for the employee.
- Assure all employees that they have protection against harassment regardless of their gender, age and other factors.
Many employees who experience sexual harassment feel as if they cannot speak out about what they experienced at work. They may feel embarrassed, or they might assume that they will get in trouble if they file a complaint. Employers should provide support for victims and take immediate action to respond to any allegations.
The rights of employees
You do not have to remain silent if you experienced any type of sexual harassment in the workplace. Not only do you have the right to bring the matter to the attention of your employer, but you also have the right to seek legal recourse for the mental duress and emotional trauma you experienced. After a sexual harassment incident at work, you may benefit from seeking an explanation of your legal options.