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Sexual Harassment Victims Lack Trust In HR

22 September 2016

Sexual Harassment Victims Lack Trust In HR

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It’s little surprise that victims feel lonely and unsupported when many companies still turn a blind eye to harassment, says Anne Payne

The only thing more shocking than the recent finding that two-thirds of young women are still experiencing harassment at work is that 79 per cent chose not to tell their employer.

Having witnessed first hand just how damaging unwanted sexual advances can be for someone’s self-esteem, it’s simply unacceptable that not only is this still happening, but that victims don’t have enough trust in their employer to ask for help.

For more people to come forward, HR must reassure victims that their experiences and concerns will be taken seriously and their personal welfare prioritised.

For those individuals who’ve been singled out for unwanted sexual attention, it can be a very lonely place. If they don’t feel able to talk about what’s happening, they can feel like they’ve been placed in an impossible situation, fearful about the next comment or physical advance. Victims may experience heightened anxiety or isolation, leading to anxiety and depression. If they do muster up the courage to confide in someone, but then their experience is neither addressed nor taken seriously, trust between them and their employer breaks down. Victims may feel they have no choice but to leave, only for the next unsuspecting person to take their place.

Ultimately, companies have a legal duty of care to look after their employees and failure to do this will not only generate unwanted absence and turnover costs, but could lead to reputation-damaging lawsuits.

For several steps organisations can take to make an immediate and significant impact on eradicating sexual harassment, please read the Full Article