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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

H - Harassment

The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.

Harassment refers to comments and conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome.

  1. Did you know that:

    • Harassment covers a broad ranges of issues? These include:

      • ancestry;

      • age;

      • race;

      • place of origin;

      • colour;

      • creed;

      • record of offences;

      • citizenship;

      • sex;

      • marital status;

      • handicap;

      • family status;

      • ethnic origin;

      • sexual orientation.

    • Management can be held liable for the actions of its employees?

    • People in positions of authority, including union representatives, can be held legally accountable if they have not responded effectively?

    • Men and women see the problem of harassment differently?

  2. Ensure that there are no reprisals against the complainant.

  3. Common myths about harassment are that

    • the problem does not exist if no one has complained;

    • educating employees means that they are likely to use the information against the employer;

    • the problem will go away or fix itself if it is not attended to.

  4. As an employee, you should

    • familiarize yourself with your corporation's policy on harassment and provide copies of the policy to your associates;

    • campaign for a policy to be established if none exists;

    • let people know that harassment will not be tolerated.

  5. Increase awareness of the problem by having your people watch educational videos during working hours, or by circulating relevant literature.

  6. Become a role model of non-sexist, non-racist behaviour by treating people with respect. Use language that is gender and race neutral.

  7. If you become aware of harassment in your work area and are in a position of authority:

    • Deal with the issue right away. Failure to do so may give the impression that you condone the act.

    • Collect the facts. Do so assertively.

  8. Find out

    • what happened;

    • who the alleged harasser is;

    • if the alleged harasser knew that his or her conduct was unwelcome;

    • when and where the behaviour occurred;

    • if there were any witnesses;

    • if the harassed person has told anyone else;

    • how often and for how long this behaviour has been going on;

    • what evidence exists related to this allegation.

  9. Confine your investigation to those involved or witnesses. Do not pour fuel on the fire by discussing the issue with people who are not involved or those who do not need to know.

  10. If there are allegations of sexual harassment, determine whether

    • the advances interfere with the complainant's work performance;

    • the harassment has created a hostile or offensive environment;

    • the complainant has been explicitly or implicitly threatened with job loss if sexual favours are withheld;

    • the accused has based a decision to hire on receiving sexual favours.

  11. If the offence is minor, warn the person immediately in writing.

  12. For serious offences, such as offering promotions in return for sexual favours, the accused will probably have to be dismissed.

  13. Maintain the complainant's confidentiality whenever possible.

  14. If you are harassed:

    • Make your feelings known immediately to the harasser.

    • If you feel that the transgression was minor, and that it may not occur again, you could choose to leave it.

    • If the matter is important to you, make someone in authority aware of the situation immediately.

    • Always be assertive. You have every right to demand respect from your fellow employees.

Westside Toastmasters on Meetup

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