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.
Continue Reading The Role of Bystander Intervention in Preventing Workplace Harassment