Addressing Workplace Harassment: A Call for Change

by Sep 26, 2023

Workplace harassment is a type of discrimination that harms not just the victim but also the whole workplace vibe. It can come in many forms, like hurtful words, physical harm, or unwelcome advances, and it makes the work environment feel hostile.

Yet, despite increased awareness of the issue, it remains a prevalent concern in many organizations, impacting employees at all levels. So, what needs to change, and how can we address this issue? 


Addressing Workplace Harassment

The first step is recognizing it. Employers and employees should know what counts as harassment, be it through words, actions, or psychological pressure. They should also understand how it can harm the victim, from hurting their work to causing emotional and physical damage. Once everyone knows how bad it is, they can spot it, report it, and prevent it.

A really good way to combat it is to make a strict rule: no harassment allowed. This rule tells everyone in the workplace that they can’t harass anyone, no matter what.

But just having this rule isn’t enough. We also need to teach people about it. So, we provide training that explains what counts as harassment, what happens if you do it, and how to report it if you see it happening.


Fostering Communication and Transparency

Communication and transparency are paramount. Employers should actively encourage open dialogues among employees, enabling them to voice concerns regarding harassment, discrimination, or any workplace-related issues. Moreover, when harassment incidents occur, transparency is vital in sharing details about the offense, the actions taken to address it, and the sanctions imposed. These actions will foster trust and credibility among employees, ensuring a safer work environment.


Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Another strategy to combat it involves promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Employers should strive to cultivate an inclusive environment where everyone feels respected and valued, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. By nurturing an inclusive workplace culture, employers can discourage harassment and firmly establish that it is unwelcome in any form.


Harnessing Technology

Finally, technology can be harnessed to combat workplace harassment. Establishing an anonymous reporting system allows employees to confidentially report witnessed or experienced incidents. Additionally, virtual training and awareness programs, including simulations and e-learning platforms, can be utilized to educate employees about harassment and discrimination.


A Harassment-Free Workplace

Workplace harassment is a pervasive issue worldwide, demanding immediate attention. Employers and employees must collaboratively create a safe and inclusive work environment by recognizing it, instituting a zero-tolerance policy, promoting diversity and inclusion, fostering open communication and transparency, and leveraging technology. Only by amalgamating these efforts can we hope to construct a workplace culture free from harassment and discrimination. Let us unite in striving for this goal.

Now that we’ve explored ways to combat workplace harassment and create a safer, more inclusive environment, it’s time for action.

To further your understanding and equip yourself with the necessary tools, consider visiting our website, where we offer comprehensive training programs and resources. Together, we can make workplaces safer and more inclusive for everyone.


Written by: Cleo Tubon

Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

3 Reasons Your Hiring Process is Too Lengthy and How to Fix it

Hiring the right person is essential, but a drawn-out hiring process can harm your organization more than you might realize. Missed opportunities, decreased productivity, and losing top candidates to competitors are just a few of the costly consequences. While being...

5 Skills Your Managers Need (But Probably Don’t Have) to Effectively Interview Job Applicants

Did you know that 76% of hiring managers admit that attracting the right job candidates is their greatest challenge? Why? Because many managers lack key skills needed for effective interviewing. Culture matters to employees, but it’s just as crucial for hiring. Keep...

Concerned about discussions of opposing political views at work?

Election season is here, bringing with it a flood of discussions, debates, and distractions. Add global tensions dominating the news, and it's easy to see why employees might struggle to stay focused… especially if they have opposing views from their colleagues… and...

3 Savvy Ways to Spend Your Budget Surplus

It’s halfway through the year, and for some companies, the fiscal year is wrapping up, leaving them with an unexpected budget surplus.  While it might be tempting to funnel these extra funds into new equipment or throw after-hours parties, there's a more strategic...

Implicit Bias Training That Works

A significant barrier to achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce is implicit bias. Implicit bias occurs when, for instance, you hear the word "engineer" and immediately assume it is a man, or hear "teacher" and assume it is a woman. Have you ever been guilty of...

Over 50% of Workers Now Value Balance and Belonging Over Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Yesterday, I came across research by Randstad and it really got me thinking about how much the workplace landscape is changing. This study included insights from 27,000 workers worldwide and what really caught my attention was that nearly half of the respondents—47%,...

Your Culture Matters as Much as Your Legal Compliance

Legal compliance serves as the bedrock of any organization. While it lays the foundation, a positive workplace culture breathes life into your organization. A strong, supportive culture fosters employee engagement, boosts morale, and enhances productivity.  This...

How We Create Respectful Work Cultures

For the past 15 years, we have been dedicated to transforming toxic workplace cultures and fostering positive environments through executive coaching, corporate training, and large-scale culture change projects. We’ve serviced over 250 clients and their thousands of...

42% of employees would QUIT over political disagreements

Is it appropriate to restrict employees from expressing their political views at work? On the one hand, you want people to feel free to express themselves. But then, you don't want those water cooler chats to turn into full-blown political showdowns. According to a...

Why Retaining Top Talent is More Difficult Than Ever

Finding and keeping great employees can be tough for companies all over. With changes in employee expectations, advancements in technology, and shifts in the job market, it's a real challenge. In 2019, a whopping 42 million U.S. workers alone said "so long" to their...