Sexual harassment in the workplace is a thorny issue that needs to be taken seriously. It is unwelcome behavior that makes a person feel intimidated, humiliated or offended and it is illegal.
According to a Shine Lawyers report, almost three-quarters of Aussie women who are sexually harassed at the workplace are dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint to their employer. More than a third of them claimed their complaints were ignored and consequently no action is taken.
Almost a fifth of women in Australia are sexually harassed at work, and only one in every five of them report such behavior to the relevant authority. It has also been revealed that about a fifth of women between 51 and 65 have who have been sexually harassed at work do not make formal complaints about fear of losing their jobs. These older women have more financial pressure which means that they are more vulnerable to the balance between their job security and workplace safety.
It is usually worrying seeing so many women who have bravely come forward and report their harassment to their employer being unhappy with the outcome.
It is important for employers to come up with a workplace campaign for proper education on how to deal with sexual harassment. There is a need to create procedures and policies that will contribute to the building of a culture of safety or security for female workers.
Why It Is Important to Complain
It is not your fault
Aussie Women always needed to know that they have a right to work in an environment that is free from sexual violence or harassment. It is not their fault, and there are ways they can seek help and receive support given that it can be a traumatic and isolating experience.
Your workplace internal policies and protocols allow you to
When faced with such a situation, you should consult your workplace sexual harassment policy to familiarize yourself with the procedures for reporting sexual misconduct.
In scenarios where your workplace does not have such a policy in place, you should talk to management or Human Resources on creating one. A workplace policy should include steps for reporting harassment, details about the process of investigation, and protection for retaliation against those who make harassment reports.
While filing sexual harassment complaints, make sure you follow the laid out policy procedures to the letter. This will ensure you are not limited to the remedy that you are entitled to in the course of action.
It is legal
It is vital that Aussie women familiarize themselves with enough legal knowledge of their rights. They should know that it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who have reported sexual harassment in the workplace. When you report harassing or discriminatory behavior, you are protected from acts of retaliation that include: demotion, termination, unfair schedule changes and other actions that affect the condition of your employment adversely. You can also make use of a federal agency that is tasked with enforcing federal employment anti-discrimination laws. Their Counsellors and Lawyers have adequate resources to assist you in dealing with your issue.
It is safe
You are more likely to feel and be safe when you come forward about sexual abuse than when you do not. Your abuser contains to hold some power over you when they know you cannot directly confront the issue at hand. Since you are entitled to work in a sexual harassment-free environment, lodging a formal complaint ensures that your safety will be guaranteed or at least put into consideration.
Conclusively, Aussie women should work in an environment that is free from sexual abuse and harassment. All the necessary steps should be taken that they feel safe at work.