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HR Management

Dealing with NSFW Practices, Harassment and Victimization at Work

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Inappropriate conduct can rear its head anywhere and everywhere. For the most part, people aren’t aware that something they say or do is harmful, but the fact remains that someone has been victimized. And issues such as this need to be dealt with fairly and appropriately. The majority of cases can be resolved through on-site disciplinary actions via HR.

Still, some actions might warrant law enforcement if they constitute a crime. Should inappropriate or illegal behavior present itself as institutionalized, then you can contact authorities or external organizations like Whistleblowerinfocenter.com. However, there is usually an internal, correct method of dealing with such behavior:

  • Explanation
  • Processing
  • Discipline

Explain What the Problem Is

Unacceptable behavior such as inappropriate touching or extreme violence is usually pretty clear. But sometimes, the offending party isn’t aware that what they have done is unacceptable. For example, name-calling, private jokes about an employee, or making someone feel uncomfortable is considered bullying. It cannot be tolerated in the workplace.

Sometimes this is done by other employees and occasionally senior personnel. Everyone involved should be informed precisely what is wrong and why they are summoned to a meeting. During each individual interview, all parties should be allowed to state their side of what has occurred as they understand it.

For example, a manager may not consider it inappropriate to shout at employees that make mistakes – but it is.

Process the Situation

Whatever your business, there should be an official procedure for dealing with complaints of misconduct at work. Typically, a good HR department deals with internal issues and will follow rigorous standards for processing the complaint. During processing, the name of every person involved will be recorded and a statement by the complainant.

Following this, all parties will be interviewed independently to figure out what happened. From there, you can decide how to proceed with the situation and whether it is internal or requires external involvement. For example, internal discipline refers to company policy, while external refers to an outside process such as local law enforcement.

Impose Necessary Sanctions

Depending on whether the issue is deemed an internal or external matter, you can decide how to proceed. For matters that are clearly not in violation of your country’s laws, you can declare a matter internal. Should a matter be reported internally, the appropriate disciplinary action can be taken according to company policy.

Minor offenses should be issued a formal warning, while more severe matters might warrant suspension or dismissal. For more serious allegations such as sexual assault, inappropriate contact, physical violence, threats, and racist harassment – you should contact authorities such as the local police immediately so they can launch an investigation.

In Summary

While there might be some legal grey areas regarding some issues such as “Not Safe for Work” jokes, viral video sharing, or social media posts, some clearly defined laws are in place. Pornography, racist insults, sexual violence, and hate speech are clear violations of legal standards at work.

Similarly, inappropriate touching, untoward comments, and aggressive behavior are also clearly not acceptable. All of these generally require immediate dismissal or appropriate discipline according to company policy.

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