Sexual Harassment in the Hiring Process

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Sexual harassment is a significant problem that has been talked about for decades. Yet, many people are still not aware of the severity of this issue and just how prevalent it is in the workplace. Sexual harassment can have serious consequences on both employees’ mental health as well as their performance at work. To combat these issues, more companies are implementing sexual harassment training programs during the hiring process to make sure new hires know what’s appropriate and what isn’t before they start working with clients or customers. In this post, we will discuss four things that a company can do to prevent sexual harassment during the hiring process.

Make Applicants Aware Of Company Policies.
The first thing that companies can do to prevent workplace sexual harassment is to make applicants aware of what happens if they break those policies. In other words, let them know about the consequences associated with sexually harassing a co-worker. This way, employees will be more likely to adhere to these rules and avoid violating company policy for fear of losing their job or being reprimanded in some other way. For example, a disgruntled employee was fired from his position as a customer support representative at AOL after he emailed several pornographic images to female co-workers.

According to reports from CNN, the man cited revenge as his motive behind sending out inappropriate content that included pornographic advertisements, memes, and people having sex. Although many consider it to be a joke, AOL did not take such action lightly and had no problem terminating him. Doing something like this can easily get someone fired, regardless of how important they might think they are.

Make Applicants Aware Of What Constitutes As Sexual Harassment
Another way for companies to prevent sexual harassment is by making applicants aware of what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. According to a University of Washington study, many workers were surprised to learn that some behaviors that seemed innocent at first glance could be seen as sexually harassing actions when viewed from a different perspective. For instance, the study found that “approximately half of the participants reported being unaware that telling sexual jokes or stories was considered sexual harassment,” even though research indicates that this type of behavior can be harmful.

Train Applicants About How To Handle Sexual Harassment Situations
Another thing that companies can do to decrease the number of sexual harassment cases during the hiring process is train applicants on how to handle such situations when they arise. As mentioned above, many people are still not aware that some actions are considered to be sexually harassing behavior. For this reason, companies should have applicants meet with human resources personnel or hiring managers during orientation to discuss what is and isn’t appropriate in the workplace. By doing so, employees may feel more comfortable reporting incidences of sexual harassment early on to avoid them escalating.

Provide Applicants With Information On How To Report Incidences Of Sexual Harassment
Another way for companies to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace is by providing their new hires with information on how they can report incidences of sexual harassment when they happen at work. Although these types of incidents are much less common than they used to be back in the 1980s, many workers are still hesitant to report incidences of sexual harassment when they take place because they are either afraid of being labeled a troublemaker or that nothing will be done about it. Research from the University of Maine found that over one-third of participants felt uncomfortable reporting incidences of sexual harassment at work.

For the above-mentioned reasons, companies must do what they can to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace before it begins. Although this will require an initial investment on their part, investing money at the beginning of employment can save employers thousands down the road. With so much riding on each employee, now is the time for companies to take action and protect their most valuable assets which may help them become or remain industry leaders.

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