Over five years have passed since the emergence of the #MeToo social movement, which served as a platform for survivors of abuse, harassment and misconduct to share their experiences. This significant event brought about a profound change in how survivors perceived their treatment, instilling in them a sense of solidarity and reassurance that they were not alone. Although the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment and coercion has decreased since then, and reporting on such incidents has increased, organizations still have a considerable journey ahead to effectively prevent, address, and ultimately eradicate harassment from the workplace.
To better understand the current state of workplace harassment, we’ve compiled what’s changed, the top solutions and where there is room for growth:
- What’s Changed: The period from 2017 to 2018 witnessed a notable 13.1% increase in sexual harassment charges, indicating a rise in reporting and acknowledgment following the viral spread of the #MeToo movement in October 2017. While efforts in education, outreach and enforcement have intensified regarding this pervasive issue, the data as of late March 2023 reveals that 44% of employees continue to experience harassment at work, and only a mere 1% of them confront their perpetrators. Shockingly, less than half of all misconduct incidents are reported, likely due to the fear of retaliation. These concerning statistics, when compared to the changes in workplace harassment since #MeToo, confirm the enduring prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace.
- The Solutions: Many organizations address workplace harassment by responding to reported workplace misconduct internally. However, to reduce abuse, harassment, and misconduct from the workplace and identify misconduct trends within your workplace, an unbiased, third-party incident management solution is a proactive approach to tackle these issues. Work Shield promotes swift, fair and efficient resolutions to harassment incidents – ensuring employee voices are heard, while providing employers with peace of mind that investigated incidents will be thoroughly investigated and resolved. Additionally, a diligent human resources department plays a vital role in combating workplace harassment. This involves implementing bystander intervention training, maintaining a clear anti-harassment policy, promptly and genuinely responding to complaints, and fostering an environment of respect. When these elements are effectively integrated, they cultivate a culture where incident reporting is encouraged and prioritized.
- Room for Growth: Organizations can promote productivity and job performance by cultivating a culture of empathy, belonging and inclusion, while firmly establishing a zero-tolerance policy towards workplace harassment. This approach not only ensures that employees feel heard, respected, and safe from misconduct but also contributes to their overall satisfaction. To effectively combat workplace sexual harassment, employers should set clear expectations for behavior in the workplace, provide bystander intervention training, implement robust anti-harassment policies and regularly assess and update the policies to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to supporting their employees.
At Work Shield, we understand the importance of being proactive and transparent in addressing workplace issues. That’s why we are dedicated to providing a comprehensive full-service incident management solution where third-party investigators conduct thorough investigations into harassment, discrimination and retaliation reports, ensuring real resolutions. By utilizing our platform, employers can enhance the overall cultural well-being of their organization, ultimately reducing and preventing future instances of harassment. Our goal at Work Shield is to work towards a future where all employees feel safe and comfortable reporting any incidents of workplace harassment.