Professional Ethics and Harassment at work! Yeah, we all come across this word; either during interview, joining process or some email from the HR etc. However, sometimes it’s nothing but big and strong words only on pdf, papers and books. The whole world celebrated International Woman’s day on 8th March so did corporate offices around the globe where people talk about woman power, women empowerment, feminism etc. But in the same place few wolves exist who somehow manage to be cruelly malicious involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime against women employees.
Beware of such wolves around you. Don’t be their prey. Before you become a victim and share your dreadful incident on social media, hit back and save yourself and create awareness to the rest of the woman crowd. Being silent and suffering from within is something a lot of woman master but IT’S NOT WORTH it. It might be you today but tomorrow it would be someone else who might not be as strong as you. Moreover It will only fetch you discomfort at work which might even be dragged to personal life. Hence, ruining both your professional growth (career) and your personal life.
Always Remember, if you don’t oppose at the very start, your silences are taken for a ‘YES’ and that you are OK with it. So what ? Shout back or be cruel like them? Yeah, at times you can even be annoying by saying things what you feel directly / indirectly.
To be more specific, if you are harassed may it be on gender basis, physically or SEXUALLY or in any other manners, stop thinking much and bring it to your direct supervisor’s notice then & there and if it’s your supervisors is misbehaving with you then go to that person’s supervisor / anti-harassment team (if your company has one). When I speak of “HARASSMENT AT WORK”, it might not necessarily be a physical touch. There are quite a few who even touch you through their nasty eyes and words they speak. Please don’t welcome them, for you never know what that would lead towards; just by your silence.
Although it is tough to say but if someone is trying to be over-friendly or even pretending to be a good colleague, you must be alert. However, it’s very much essential to draw a clear border between what’s personal and what’s professional. Even if a behaviour falls into professional ethics court, still beware of every move taken towards you. For the first time, it might just look a mere accident but Accidents don’t repeat.
- Oppose it.
- Make them feel you aren’t comfortable with their behavior.
- Warn them.
- Be subtle.
Totally agree that the reasons for their behavior aren’t always you neither your looks nor your dressing sense. Many a times it’s that hard truth of their life; i.e. ‘a woman is capable of doing things what man can do or run at same pace as theirs’. For most men / seniors / colleagues out there, it’s even hard to accept your intelligence, you being skilled compared to them, being more effective at work and noticeable with respect to work and deliverables, sometimes communication and every other thing that they couldn’t do or they lacked. Your progress literally pricks them and come what may, they wouldn’t hesitate to pull you down the ladder at any cost.
Also Read: Discrimination during Maternity leaves
Few usual cases of harassment at work :
- “Give and take”: Especially for benefit minded people. Say, tolerate everything just for the sake of promotion / a good hike. Again, it is harassment at work.
- “Leading to intolerable work atmosphere”: Constant actions or talks or invitations will drive you from work and distract you leading to emotional breakdown. E.g. Not talking professionally, sending adult messages, unofficially bugging and chattering etc.
- “Dominating / blackmailing”: Show seniority to newly joined intern or don’t help them / guide them being a mentor and if you don’t entertain them they respond saying “Will see you when you come to ask for help or guidance”.
Measures to be taken to avoid harassment at work, getting bullied and even handling such situations with ease:
All women out there:
- Draw a line between you and any other employee and define your limits and maintain the same.
- Confine your meetings and talks to be professional only.
- Ensure you are aware all the anti-harassment at work policies as you would be asked for proofs sometimes.
- Stick to your work and do not entertain / accept anything from susceptible wolves (May it be even a cup of coffee in the cafeteria).
- If colleagues are not guiding / helping, try to discuss in the group / communicate officially via emails in presence of manager.
- If things are still not working out, inform the same to your reporting manager before it’s too late. This is beneficial for yourself, your project as well as the company.
- Your hard work will be paid off. Don’t think your boss will screw up your appraisal if you don’t fulfill his wishes.
- Don’t ignore any harassment at work. Create awareness it would be benefit other colleagues and save them from becoming victims.
- Attend various training sessions on harassment at work and how to deal with it. Speak out with other colleagues and exchange thoughts and ideas about the same.
- Only cowards are involved in harassment at work. Speak out aloud in public and they will not respond. If it happens to be your boss, prefer not working under them / with them.
All companies / policy makers out there:
- Every company should have an anti-harassment policy, where the employee can approach the team and bring their problem to notice and get it addressed.
- It’s the company’s responsibility to make the employees aware of the policy and avail its features at ease. This is the best way to avoid any harassment at work for it would be the same for all and not biased based on designation.
- Have monthly training sessions on the Harassment policy and various learning’s about the same for all levels of employees in the company with mandatory attendance.
- Every case should be taken seriously, like it’s treated in the court. Proper actions should be taken against the harasser.
- See to it that the employee is clear while describing the ill treatment, without hesitation, without the fear of reprisal, which would help in knowing how worse it was for her to go through the situation.
- Create easy access to anti-harassment team by all employees. Have a forum where woman can raise complaints / talks / discussions about various harassments they face at organization.
To all those men out there:
- You will never feel better if the only thing you know is to make the other suffer! Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.
- Be professional.
- Don’t lose your respect.
- Taste your words before you spit them out.
- Treat the women around you the way you would want yourself to be treated. Respect them.
- What goes around comes around. If you harass someone, some else would harass you or your loved ones.
To summarize, Consequences are worse if any kind of harassment at work is left un-attended. Though a woman is meant to have lot of patience, or meant to tolerate all the shit thrown at her, it’s really tough to go through the mixed feelings like fear, anger, frustration, insult, humiliation, confusion, torture and the list extends. Do not be bullied by anyone into keeping silent. Unite to end bullying.
A wise woman never wishes to be someone’s enemy. A wise woman refuses to be someone’s victim!