Although there are laws that prohibit workplace harassment in California and other states, it still occurs in certain establishments. Employers can do more to outline what constitutes harassment and make sure employees understand the consequences. Employees can also do their part to speak up when they observe situations involving harassment and come forward as witnesses in an investigation.
The Houston Chronicle reports that one of the best ways employers can show their support for a safe and comfortable work environment is to provide training to all levels of staff. It is best to have a written statement that explains the company's harassment policy as well as a demonstration, such as a video. A video should represent a similar industry and be up-to-date. A training session should include the following:
- Procedure for reporting harassment
- The steps for investigating a harassment allegation
- Procedure for how complaints are resolved
The human resource department should be openly available for anyone with questions or complaints. Employers should immediately take action when a complaint is made and make it clear that full cooperation is required by all involved, including witnesses.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlines ways employees can support anti-harassment and anti-discrimination in the workplace. Along with attending training and understanding the company's policies, employees should be proactive and take appropriate steps to report harassment incidents to the proper party. Employees should also treat their colleagues with respect in regard to race, sex, religion and color. Comments or jokes that could potentially be offensive should not be said, and employees should stand up to others who are doing the harassing.