Healthcare and Medicine Reference
eradicate sexual harassment. This approach was included in a policy state-
ment to be used in concert with existing procedures. The statement was
used to heighten awareness and encourage reassessment of existing poli-
cies in all of its medical practice and educational settings.
It is reasonable to assume that even the most comprehensive sexual
harassment policies and procedures will probably fail if a company does
not enforce them quickly, consistently, and aggressively. For policies to be
effective, companies must view sexual harassment seriously. Designated
personnel must be made responsible for enforcement, documentation,
and investigations of all complaints. A number of findings reveal that it is
essential that employers regularly monitor managers' and supervisors'
adherence to sexual harassment policies and procedures. This requires
strategies that can include posted rules, written policies, monthly meet-
ings, unscheduled spot checks, and periodic sexual harassment training
sessions. Businesses that utilize surveys about sexual harassment issues can
often gauge supervisor and other employee attitudes concerning the prob-
lem. It has been found that when companies screen annual data on hiring,
firing, promotions, and compensation packages, overt patterns of sexual
harassment may be discerned.
Regardless of the situation, reasonable and necessary actions need to
be quickly taken that are designed to end the sexual harassment. Action
steps may include verbal warnings, written warnings, job transfers, sus-
pension of employment, and, if necessary, termination.
Most prefer a pragmatic solution that would stop the harassment and
prevent future contact with the harasser, rather than turning to the police.
More about the difficulty in turning an offence into a legal act can be
found in Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat's (1981) study, which describes three
steps a victim (of any dispute) must go through before turning to the jus-
tice system: naming (giving the assault a definition); blaming (understand-
ing who is responsible for the violation of rights and facing them); and
finally, claiming (turning to the authorities).
Boxes 4.1 and 4.2 summarize some further suggestions adopted from
guidelines entitled “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: A Primer”,
developed by Roberts and Mann (2012) to address sexual harassment. All
companies should consider these guidelines in establishing and imple-
menting their sexual harassment policy.
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