What is Harassment?
Harassment means to continue to annoy or upset someone over a period of time:
Harassment at Workplace:
Workplace harassment is the belittling or threatening behavior directed at an individual worker or a group of workers. It includes passing comments/sexual comments which might make an individual uncomfortable
What comprises Sexual Harassment at the workplace?
· Sharing sexual photos
· Posting sexual posters
· Sexual comments, jokes, questions
Promising promotion or any other work benefits in exchange of anything sexual
· Inappropriate sexual touching
· Inappropriate sexual gestures
· Invading personal space in a sexual way
#MeToo is a global movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.
The #MeToo Movement has one simple aim: Make the world safer for women by ensuring women are free from sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and rape.
During the #MeToo movement many people came forward with their stories of sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence.
The use of the #MeToo hashtag on social media spread quickly in India. In response to this, there have been attempts to teach Indian women about workplace rights and safe reporting, and educate men about what constitutes appropriate workplace behavior and change their current understanding of the difference between “formal” and “informal” behavior.
After this movement, many firms set up an anti-harassment cell for the first time and others strengthened the existing cells.
What is Appropriate Workplace Behavior and What’s Not:
No Suggestive/Explicit Talk:
Avoidance of sexually explicit language at the workplace or saying/writing things even distantly suggestive is taboo. While people may not object to it openly, it can make them uncomfortable. Do not use sexually graphic language to talk about work. For Instance: “If we don’t file this report on time, we’re effed”, is unacceptable.
A ‘No’ is, after all, a ‘No’:
Respect a ‘No’ from a colleague or an employee. Woman employees often report discomfort when a simple “No” from them is not acknowledged. It can be harassment if you persist despite a display of reluctance from the other person. It could be for a dance, a drink or even an outing.
Maintaining Eye Contact:
It is vital to take care not to look at a colleague or an employee in a suggestive manner. Repeated glances that make the other person uncomfortable may be considered harassment. The concerned person may be a senior official or a top performer but the ‘wandering eye syndrome’ is a sure-shot cause for termination from services or even an expensive Sexual harassment lawsuit.
Watch yourself at offsite:
Offsites are meant to be fun but are also, in a way, an extension of your office. Therefore, watching your behavior is important while making merry at an offsite. There have been instances where senior officers of MNCs and Banks have been asked to resign based on reports received from female colleagues about their misbehavior at off-sites.
Think before you act/speak:
Different people have different ideas of boundaries and are sensitive to varying degrees. Unless you are sure of how a colleague will take a remark, it’s good to exercise caution.
Workplaces are ALWAYS formal:
No blowing kisses
No sending lewd jokes via SMS
No innuendos or insinuations
Men, please take note and respect the professional space in which you and others around you work. Women, if anyone behaves in any way listed above then LET THEM KNOW that it’s making you feel uncomfortable. If such behavior continues after that then report it to your reporting manager and/or the Sexual Harassment committee of your office
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