On March 15th, 2018, New Vitae Wellness and Recovery’s Human Resources Manager, Samantha Perch, MS, led a training for staff entitled, “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” Ms. Perch offered a review of sexual harassment law as well as the organization’s internal sexual harassment policy. Staff members learned about types of sexual harassment, including verbal, written, visual, and physical contact, and reviewed the variety of employee behaviors that can constitute sexual harassment.
Participants had the opportunity to discuss the factors that result in sexual harassment, including the nature of the behavior (unwanted/unwelcome), the frequency and severity of the behavior, and use of the reasonable person standard to determine whether the behaviors could be classified as sexual harassment. Staff members also reviewed specific sample scenarios to determine whether actions could be considered a quid pro quo (this for that) or a hostile work environment situation.
Additionally, Ms. Perch offered suggestions on talking with a coworker who has displayed offensive behavior, recommending the use of the “DESC” method:
• Describe the specific behavior that has been offensive, using the pronoun “I”
• Review expectations of what you want to happen
• Specify your desired outcome; and identify the…
• Consequences if the person’s behavior does not change
Staff also reviewed the process and individuals on staff who are available to hear concerns of sexual harassment. Ultimately, Ms. Perch recommended remaining professional, staying polite, and increasing one’s polish when interacting with coworkers. Special thanks to Ms. Perch for her expertise and support!