Bonnie Scherry, G&A Partners’ director of Corporate HR, recently participated in a discussion about protecting employees from workplace sexual harassment with Craig Cohen, the host of Houston Public Media’s Houston Matters podcast.
Below are some highlights from the conversation:
According to Scherry, a primary concern is that some employees don’t feel comfortable coming forward if they experience sexual harassment in the workplace. She went on to say that employers should strive to create cultures where employees both know how to report sexual harassment and feel comfortable coming forward.
The key to establishing such a culture is knowing your people on an ongoing basis and establishing avenues and providing opportunities where employees feel safe to share their concerns, says Scherry.
Examples of that might include:
Scherry says that every workplace ought to have the following HR policies and procedures in place:
Scherry explains that one of the biggest misconceptions people have is about how difficult it is, on a personal level, for an individual to come forward or speak about sexual harassment. She goes on to say that when an employee does come forward with a concern, the immediate responsibility of the HR professional is to listen. Every allegation should be taken seriously and responded to. In so much as each complaint should receive an immediate response from HR, however, it also needs to be a thoughtful response. In the course of the initial disclosure, HR should try to get as much information as they can while remaining respectful to the fact that this is likely a distressing or uncomfortable conversation for the employee.
Listen to the full conversation, as well as call-in questions from listeners, below!
(NOTE: The conversation about workplace sexual harassment begins at 4:22.)