Recent studies show that as many as 23% of Australian workers have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. While the human cost is clear, it is also important to understand why it is bad for business.
Why is sexual Harassment bad for Business?
- It exposes companies to significant legal and financial risks, being considered a form of discrimination under Australian law. Employers are legally required to provide a safe and respectful workplace free from discrimination and harassment. Companies that fail to take action may face legal action and financial penalties, and negative publicity and reputational damage.
- Sexual harassment can impact workplace productivity and morale, as employees may feel stressed, anxious, and fearful, which can affect their ability to perform their job duties effectively. This can lead to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism, which can ultimately impact the company’s bottom line. Additionally, it can create a work environment that erodes employee morale and trust, leading to lower job satisfaction and engagement.
- Sexual harassment can contribute to high turnover rates, which can be costly for businesses. Employees may choose to leave the company rather than continue to work in a hostile environment. Replacing employees is not only expensive, but it can also lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and experience, which can impact the company’s long-term success.
- Sexual harassment can be damaging to a company’s reputation and brand. Customers, clients, and partners are less likely to do business with a company that is known for tolerating or ignoring inappropriate behaviour. In a competitive marketplace, a damaged reputation can have significant financial consequences.
Preventing sexual Harassment in your business
To prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace, companies can take proactive steps such as:
- Implementing policies and training programs that clearly outline what constitutes sexual harassment and the consequences for engaging in such behavior.
- Conducting regular workplace culture assessments to identify and address any instances of harassment or inappropriate behavior.
- Ensurie that employees feel comfortable reporting incidents of harassment; and
- Have systems in place to ensure that all reports are handled promptly and confidentially.
In conclusion, creating a safe and respectful workplace can benefit employees and the bottom line. Therefore, companies must take steps to address sexual harassment in the workplace to promote a positive work environment that benefits everyone involved.
A great place for resources is the Respect@Work website at Respect@Work | Respect@Work (respectatwork.gov.au)
Would you like any further information on this article or assistance with implementing practices aimed at preventing sexual harassment in your business? Please contact us on:
Telephone: 1800 HR Smartz (1800 477 627)