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Are you turning a blind eye on these two less obvious forms of sexual harassment in your workplace?

by , 11 April 2013
The week started on a bad note for the University of Witwatersrand, with a legal firm being appointed to probe claims of sexual harassment. You probably breathed a sigh of relief that this didn't happen in your workplace. Thing is, there probably IS still sexual harassment in your workplace - it's just not as obvious as you think. Lewd whistling and nude calendars are all it takes to land you with a sexual harassment case... So update your sexual harassment policies today!

Following claims of sexual harassment, Wits University has appointed a firm of attorneys to receive complaints from anybody in the university who feel that they have been harassed - sexually and otherwise, says News24
This bold move has been applauded, as it gives people a safe space for people to talk about sexual harassment.
A two-person team is also examining the university's policies on sexual harassment to see if updates to its sexual harassment policies are needed.
Do you need to update your sexual harassment policies?
This is important, as sexual harassment is one of the most frequently reported incidents of workplace bullying, abuse and victimisation, says FSP Business.
And as an employer, you're obligated to provide your employees with a safe workplace, which includes being safe from sexual harassment
That's why you need to make sure all employees know what's acceptable and what's not, as some employees could feel they're just being 'friendly', says FSP Business.
So mention that even flirtatious behaviour can lead to a sexual harassment problem.
Because sexual harassment isn't just about unwanted physical contact, says The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.
Two forms of sexual harassment you may have missed… whistling and nude calendars
Verbal forms of sexual harassment include unwelcome innuendos, sex-related jokes or insults, or unwelcome graphic comments about a person's body made in their presence or directed toward them. This includes unwelcome whistling.
But that's not all.
Non-verbal forms of sexual harassment include unwelcome gestures, indecent exposure, and even the unwelcome display of sexually explicit pictures and objects. 
This means that even calendars on your employees' desks that have sexual undertones would be included in this category, says The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.
So make sure your employees haven't put up anything that could be deemed offensive to others, like the annual 'hottest male' calendars they get free with magazines. 
It's one way to protect your business from a sexual harassment case.

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