Every individual has the ability to negate common social workplace challenges. Even one person working to foster diversity and overcome sexual harassment can make a difference. Continue reading to learn a few basic practices that can help you achieve this.
Use Gender-Neutral Pronouns
You can’t always tell which pronouns a person prefers by looking at them. So practice using gender-neutral pronouns at all times, unless someone has specifically told you they prefer different ones. Gender-neutral pronouns include they and them.
Respect Personal and Cultural Boundaries
A critical step in diversity training is understanding that other people may have different beliefs than you. That’s not only okay but great. The world would be a boring place if everyone were the same.
For example, some cultures don’t allow physical contact (even handshakes) with the opposite gender. On the opposite end, some cultures are very big on things like hugs and cheek kisses. Remember to respect the boundaries of others while also ensuring yours are being respected.
Think Twice Before Making Jokes and Comments
Modern sexual harassment training tells us that many people don’t even realize what they’re doing. An off-handed joke or comment may feel harmless to the giver but is entirely inappropriate to the receiver. Comments on physical appearance, sexual orientation, and similar topics are, in fact, sexual harassment.
Before making a joke or comment to someone in the workplace, think twice. Ask yourself if it could be considered sexually inappropriate or hurt the other person’s feelings. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to keep it to yourself.
Report All Harassment to HR
If you witness harassment in the workplace, you must advocate for the victim by reporting it to HR. Unfortunately, many people don’t feel comfortable reporting incidents themselves because they fear backlash. This is particularly true for women and minorities, who haven’t had their reports taken seriously in the past.
Harassment refers to anything that a person does, knowing it makes the other individual uncomfortable. Harassment may include (among others):
- Racist or misogynistic jokes
- Sexual comments (including those about a person’s sexual orientation)
- Remarks about a person’s physical appearance
- Purposeful discrimination for a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion
- Stalking (including physically or virtually)
- Making threats of any kind
- Touching a person who doesn’t want to be touched
- Sending inappropriate images of themselves to another
- Purposefully destroying or interrupting a person’s work
Learn To Think of Everyone as Your Equals
To foster diversity, you must learn to think differently. Remind yourself that at the end of each day, every person is equal.
Every person has the right to do their jobs and earn a living without being discriminated against. Nobody should feel fearful in their workplace.
You Can Help Foster Diversity and Overcome Sexual Harassment
Every individual has the ability to make a difference. By helping to foster diversity and overcome sexual harassment in the workplace, you can become a role model for others.