5 Best Practices for Sexual Harassment Training and Compliance

This blog post outlines the key points from our webinar on "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace." The post outlines five best practices for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace shared by gender-based violence and policy experts Jeanne Bodenstein and Sanja Bornman. This includes having robust policies, ensuring multiple reporting options, providing regular training, involving experts, and creating flexible disciplinary systems. Additionally, it details how PlutoLMS can aid companies in implementing these practices through centralised policy management, onboarding and sexual harassment training, and yearly refresher training.

Webinar Overview

In today's workplace, addressing sexual harassment is crucial not only for compliance but for fostering a safe, respectful, and productive environment. In our webinar on combatting sexual harassment in the workplace, experts Jeanne Bodenstein and Sanja Bornman from Thusa Consulting shared invaluable insights on sensitive and creative responses to sexual harassment. This blog post delves into their key points and explores how PlutoLMS can help organisations implement these best practices.

Understanding Sexual Violence and the Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual violence is a broad term that encompasses a range of behaviours, including sexual harassment. According to the new Consolidated Code of Good Practice on the Prevention and Elimination of Harassment in the Workplace, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether direct or indirect, that the perpetrator knows or ought to know is not welcome.

The Test for Sexual Harassment

To determine whether sexual harassment has occurred, the code outlines several factors:

  1. Conduct Based on Sex, Gender, or Sexual Orientation: The behaviour must be related to these aspects.
  2. Unwelcome Conduct: The perpetrator should know the conduct is unwelcome.
  3. Nature and Extent of the Conduct: The specific details of the behaviour.
  4. Impact on the Complainant: How the conduct affected the victim.

Different Forms of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace can take various forms, including:

Why Sexual Harassment is Different from Other Forms of Misconduct

Sexual harassment is unique because it infringes on the privacy, dignity, and bodily integrity of the victim. It also poses significant risks to the employer, including potential litigation, reputational harm, and decreased productivity.

Principles of Empowerment When Dealing with Sexual Harassment

Addressing sexual harassment effectively involves empowering the victim through these key principles:

Providing Safety

Ensuring both physical and psychological safety is crucial. Victims must feel secure to report incidents without fear of retaliation. This principle helps in creating a supportive environment where victims feel protected and validated.

Restoring Control

Giving the victim options and information restores their sense of control. By involving them in decision-making processes, victims regain autonomy and confidence. This principle is vital because it shifts the power dynamic back to the victim, helping them feel respected and heard.

Ongoing Support

Offering continuous support, both internally and through external professionals, is essential. This ensures that victims do not feel isolated and have access to the necessary resources for their recovery and well-being. Continuous support fosters resilience and aids in the healing process.

Five Best Practices for Dealing with Sexual Harassment

Jeanne and Sanja highlighted five best practices to manage sexual harassment effectively:

Robust Policies and Protocols

Having clear, accessible, and operational policies ensures that everyone understands what constitutes sexual harassment and the consequences of such behaviour. This practice establishes a firm foundation for a respectful workplace culture and provides a clear framework for addressing complaints.

Multiple Reporting Options

Providing various channels for reporting harassment, such as hotlines, online forms, and designated personnel, ensures that victims can report incidents in a manner they find comfortable and safe. This increases the likelihood of incidents being reported and addressed promptly.

Regular Training

Conducting ongoing training for all staff, including new hires, is crucial. Training sessions raise awareness, educate employees about acceptable behaviours, and equip them with the skills to respond appropriately. Regular training helps maintain a high level of awareness and reinforces the importance of a harassment-free workplace.

Involve Experts

Engaging external experts for investigations and support ensures objectivity and professionalism in handling cases. Experts can provide specialised knowledge and experience, enhancing the credibility and effectiveness of the response. This practice helps build trust in the process and ensures thorough and impartial investigations.

Flexible Disciplinary Systems

Adapting disciplinary processes to be fair and victim-centred ensures that the responses to harassment are appropriate and just. Flexible systems can accommodate the specifics of each case, ensuring that disciplinary actions are proportionate and supportive of the victim's needs. This practice underscores the organisation's commitment to justice and fairness.

How PlutoLMS Can Help Implement Best Practices

PlutoLMS is a digital platform designed to create, deliver, manage, and track training programmes. PlutoLMS offers several features that enable organisations to centralise training content, ensure accessibility, and track employee progress. This makes our comprehensive solution an integral component of managing all aspects of sexual harassment training and compliance within your organisation.

Centralised Policy Management

PlutoLMS allows you to host all policies in one place, ensuring easy access and real-time updates. This centralisation supports the practice of having robust policies and protocols by making them readily available to all employees, ensuring everyone is informed and aligned with the latest guidelines.

Onboarding and Sexual Harassment Training

PlutoLMS supports customised onboarding paths, including mandatory sexual harassment training. Interactive formats like videos and quizzes make the training engaging and memorable. This feature directly ties into the practice of regular training, ensuring that new employees are well-versed in the organisation's stance on harassment from day one.

Yearly Refresher Training

Automated reminders and assessments ensure employees complete their annual refresher courses, maintaining continuous awareness and compliance. This feature supports the ongoing training practice, ensuring that knowledge remains fresh and employees are continually reminded of their responsibilities.

By leveraging PlutoLMS, organisations can create a proactive and informed workplace, equipped to handle sexual harassment with sensitivity and effectiveness. Implement these best practices today to foster a safer and more respectful work environment.

Ready to Take Action Against Sexual Harassment in Your Workplace?

If your business needs expert assistance in addressing sexual harassment with sensitivity, creativity, and professionalism, don't hesitate to reach out to Thusa Consulting. Their experienced team can guide you through creating a safe and respectful work environment.

To learn more about how PlutoLMS can support your training and compliance efforts, and to see our platform in action, contact our team today.

Together, we can build a workplace where everyone feels secure and respected.

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