Workplace Sexual Harassment 2020

Workplace Sexual Harassment 2020 – Recently it was reported on the ABC that Workplace sexual harassment reports are rising during coronavirus and working from home may be a reason.  The article stated, coronavirus, working from home and recent high-profile cases are encouraging more women to come forward and revealing the true extent of Australia’s sexual harassment problem, authorities have said that Law firms say they are being swamped with workplace sexual harassment claims.

The publicity around recent high profile sexual harassment cases including AMP and Heydon may have encouraged women to come forward.

Working from home, and the distance from the office it creates, may be creating an environment where more victims come forward as the fear associated with having to continue to be in the same workplace with the alleged perpetrator is no longer present with people working remotely, out of that direct space, victims may not feel physically threatened or intimidated. They’ve got a lower fear of backlash.

So where are complaint likely to come from in the current working climate;
* Text messages
* Other forms on online or remote communications via private messages, Facebook, Instagram, What Apps
* Private photos being re-posted, in order to shame or intimidate a person, or action taken as a result of a rebuffed advance.
* Email and phone
* During online meetings via platforms like Zoom

Workplace Sexual Harassment 2020 – Lessons for employers

1 Be proactive

* Remain vigilant and look for signs bad behaviour or of employees avoiding situations and perhaps withdrawing.
* If your gut tells you that something is wrong, listen to it
* Re-enforce the companies policies in regard to sexual harassment
* Train or re-train your staff
* Have a trusted reporting mechanism for victims and ensure that everybody knows where to report and/or who to
* Create a culture that will not tolerate sexual harassment.
* Create a culture where witnesses will come forward especially in cases where the victims won’t

2. Be reactive

* Take action, never ignore the situation in the hope it will go away –
* Re-enforce your proactive actions with reactive actions
* Ensure that you have a process in place to move from report to action
* Investigate the complaint or incident in a professional and timely manner
* If you don’t have the internal skills, experience, expertise or time call in a professional and qualified investigator.
* If you don’t have the internal skills, experience or expertise this time, get training for next time

3. Be Reasonable & supportive

* Consider the needs and welfare of the victim
* Support victims and all you employees
* Encourage victims and witness to come forward

Some people argue that a mediated outcome is better than an investigation in sexual harassment matters so as to not unduly upset the victim.  The problem with this is;
* The victim may feel forced into a meditation when their actual complaint has not been properly addressed.
* It may be too easy for a perpetrator to say what the mediator wants to hear without any intention to change their ways.
* Without an investigation if it happens again you won’t have the potential evidence form this time.

4. Get Help

Australian Workplace training and Investigation (AWPTI) can hep in a number of ways;

* Full investigation services, we take the stress away from you –

* Understand Sexual Harassment training for your staff  –
* 1 to 1 Understand Sexual Harassment training/coaching for staff members that may have been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint –
* Sexual Harassment Investigation training for HR professional, legal staff and managers –

All of our courses can be provided in person at your location/office or remotely via Zoom or MS Teams.  Full day and multiple day courses can also be broken down into separate 2.5 or 3.5 hour sessions.  For internal course for your organisation we charge a fixed daily rate with unlimited participants, if you only have 1 or 2 participants we can work out an affordable rate for you, YES will will run sessions for just one person.

All programs can be tailored to suit any specific requirements that you may have.  Our courses are available remotely nationwide.

Contact us for details and costs –

AWPTI – workplace investigation Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide

Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, complaint investigations, grievance investigations, discrimination investigations