Organizations that successfully create an inclusive and positive culture understand that all of its people have an important role to play in maintaining a harassment-free workplace. Any incident of harassment can affect more than just the parties directly involved, and all employees are responsible for helping to maintain a working environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and other inappropriate conduct.
Ensuring that employees understand their role as bystanders to potential incidents is vital to creating a safe and inclusive culture, and in some jurisdictions, providing such training is mandatory.
This post will explain what it means to be a “bystander” and review three key reasons why bystander intervention training can help your organization prevent workplace harassment.
What Is a Bystander?
Whenever a potentially inappropriate interaction between two individuals occurs, any third party who either directly witnesses the behavior or learns of it later becomes a “bystander”—that is, not a target or an offender, but a witness, whether direct or indirect. For example, someone who overhears inappropriately gratuitous commentary directed at a co-worker in an adjoining office could be a direct witness. An indirect witness might be a colleague in whom someone who is feeling harassed confides that they are feeling uncomfortable with a co-worker’s remarks or actions.
Organizations everywhere have recognized the importance of eliminating workplace harassment. From decreased productivity to higher turnover, the impact of workplace harassment can be monumental and even shake an entire business to its core. It is critical that your organization take the right steps to eliminate workplace harassment. Let’s take a look at three common mistakes organizations make in their harassment prevention initiatives.
1. Inadequate Training
If harassment prevention training is lackluster or not administered properly, its impact will be minuscule. Employees should receive regular, updated training to stay informed of harassment laws and policies in their jurisdiction and in their particular workplace. In many jurisdictions, annual training is required, but even where it is not, it is critical that your organization be proactive and continue to train its employees in order to realize the full benefits.
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we look at a range of recent anti-harassment and gender equity updates from across the country.
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we focus on what can be learned from the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission’s (EEOC’s) fiscal year (FY) 2021 filings as employers continue to navigate COVID-19 in the months ahead.
EEOC: Back in Enforcement Action
The EEOC increased its FY 2021 filings by 12 percent, signaling to employers that the agency is returning to a more robust enforcement level after a downturn in activity last year amid COVID-19. Attorneys Jim Petrie and Amy Bharj tell us more about what we can learn from the past year’s cases.
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