Did you know that, as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to deal with any sexual harassment at work? To help you understand and manage this risk, WorkSafe has developed a useful toolkit.
Harassment, including sexual harassment, is a common risk at work. It can harm the health of the people affected, as well as wider work relationships and the overall health of the business. As with all workplace risks, addressing sexual harassment is the responsibility of business owners — it’s a requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
One of the toughest challenges for business owners is that sexual harassment is often subtle and undermining. And the longer it exists without intervention, the harder it becomes to deal with. That’s why WorkSafe has developed a toolkit to help businesses and workers deal with the problem.
Sexual harassment (external link) — WorkSafe
All businesses should create a work culture that promotes appropriate behaviour, enables people to speak up easily, and resolves concerns and allegations speedily. To support this vision, WorkSafe’s toolkit offers information and guidance about recognising, preventing, and responding to sexual harassment at work. The toolkit will help you work out whether sexual harassment is occurring and how to manage the health and safety risks associated with it.
Advice for businesses (external link) — WorkSafe
Jude Urlich, General Manager Strategy and Performance at WorkSafe
The Human Rights Act 1993 defines sexual harassment as:
To get a better idea of what sexual harassment can look like in practice, read WorkSafe’s examples.
As an employer, you need to take all reports of sexual harassment seriously. It’s important to act promptly to protect and support your people.
If you have an Employee Assistance Programme, make sure the person affected by the harassment knows about it. Encourage them to make the most of the support if they want to.
You and your employees also have the right to seek help from an outside organisation if the matter is serious. For example, for physical assaults or criminal harassment, contact the Police.
Employees can also decide to:
Lodge an application (external link) — Employment Relations Authority
Make a complaint (external link) — Human Rights Commission