The Lid Is Blown Off Sexual Harassment In Workplace – Everyone Is Now Talking About It!

Authored By: Warren Shepell | Publish Date: 10/11/2017

Canadian plan sponsors can no longer hide in the shadows about sexual harassment. The Harvey Weinstein case has blown the lid off sexual harassment – reports are all over the media that he had sexually harassed women for years.

His case, as a sexual predator in power, is a turning point for the workplace. Workplaces need to take notice and be very clear about their zero tolerance for all types of harassment, including sexual harassment. All types of workplaces, whether it is retailing, manufacturing, communications, hospitals, or hospitality, need to put an abrupt stop to this bad and despicable behaviour.

Each province has slightly difference procedures for confronting sexual harassment and you should review the exact procedures in your province or territory, but they all agree on one thing – there is no place for sexual harassment in the workplace.

When a person is sexually harassed in the workplace, it undermines their sense of personal respect and self-esteem, doing their job effectively, and ultimately debilitating depression and severely compromised mental health sets in. The employer faces increased absenteeism, healthcare costs due to prescription drugs, and short- and long-term disability. Employers also face legal expenses, costly lawsuits charged to organizations, and loss of reputation and humiliation in the public sphere.

Incidents of sexual harassment include the very obvious asking for sex for a benefit or a favour, (and in Weinstein’s case, there was not always an explicit exchange, just a feeling of entitlement because he was a powerful man); repeatedly asking for dates, and not taking a ‘no’ for answer; to asking for hugs and back rubs; making sexual jokes, and bragging about sexual prowess.

No doubt, the floodgates have opened. Women feel empowered to come forward and their voices are being heard. Organizations can no longer afford to remain silent and protect those in power if they are engaging in sexual harassment. Harassers are being exposed and victims are speaking out.

Workplaces must implement air-tight harassment policies which need to be effectively communicated to all managers and employees, training on workplace harassment prevention must be given to each and every manager and employee, systems and procedures need to be implement for creating a clear, uncomplicated, and confidential path for reporting all harassment including sexual harassment, with prompt and efficient investigation, and recommended actions taken and communicated to both the victim and the harasser.

Workplaces need to be unwavering in holding managers and employees accountable in workplace harassment prevention right from the outset.

Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood executive and Oscar winner, is taking a leave of absence from his own company after an exposé revealing decades of sexual harassment against women was published in the New York Times.

The article includes first person accounts of Weinstein’s alleged conduct. As well, it says two company officials told the newspaper that at least eight women have received settlements from Weinstein over the years, including actress Rose McGowan, who allegedly had an incident with him in 1997 when she was 23.

Weinstein, 65, is known for producing films like ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ for which he won an Oscar.

Warren Shepell is vice-president, client relations and Communications with BizLife Solutions, a company consulting in Workplace Harassment Prevention

 


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