In a recent poll, seven in 10 HR professionals said they expect to handle more sexual harassment complaints in 2018, and that sexual harassment prevention training is a “high priority” and “essential,” according to the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).
In announcing the results of polling more than 200 HR leaders at US organizations, the HRCI said the #MeToo movement and ongoing news coverage of high-profile sexual harassment cases are causing more organizations to step up their plans to reduce risk, prevent workplace sexual harassment and handle more complaints.
- 79% of HR professionals said that sexual harassment prevention training will be a “high priority” or “essential” moving forward, up from 40% in 2017.
- 84% said that handling sexual harassment complaints in their organization will be considered a “high priority” or “essential” moving forward, up from 65%.
- 63% said that acts of sexual harassment “occasionally” or “sometimes” occur in their workplaces; 30% said that such acts occur “frequently.” Only 7% said that such acts “almost never” or “never” occur.
- 60% said that most of the sexual harassment complaints are of the hostile work environment type, compared to 6% that are quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo harassment – this for that – occurs when an individual asks or demands a sexual favor in exchange for something, such as a promotion. Quid pro quo can also be the threat of a negative consequence – such as being fired – for not agreeing to a sexual advance.
Hostile environment harassment includes physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature – such as comments or unwelcome touching – that becomes so severe or pervasive it interferes with a person’s ability to do their job, and creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
“Recent allegations and the #MeToo movement have raised awareness and, more importantly, triggered action to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace,” said HRCI CEO Amy Dufrane. “Greater awareness is likely to mean an increase in the number of reported cases over the short term. Long term, organizations are placing more emphasis on prevention and, hopefully, the eradication of sexual harassment from the workplace. Everyone, including employers and coworkers who witness unwanted behaviors, must step up to the challenge.”
Since the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace has become a “high priority” and “essential” for HR professionals across industries, according to HRCI’s recent poll. More HR & diversity leaders are stepping up to the challenge by reviewing and updating their training, policies and procedures. Preventing workplace harassment begins with raising awareness among employees and managers about the different forms of sexual harassment, and clearly communicating your organization’s sexual harassment policy, and complaint and investigation procedures.