Rhode Island employers are required to provide a work environment that is free of sexual or other types of harassment. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t hear crude jokes or be passed over for a promotion based solely on your gender. Fortunately, there are many easy steps that companies can take to create a culture that doesn’t tolerate improper behavior.
Hold everyone accountable
Individuals who engage in workplace harassment may do so because they don’t think that they’ll suffer any negative consequences for their actions. This may be because they are top earners for the company or because they are in positions of power within the organization. However, by creating a uniform standard that everyone must abide by, you can create a deterrent against mistreatment in the workplace.
Offer regular training sessions
Creating a culture of respect means educating workers as to what is acceptable in the workplace. Although adults should know basic manners, you can’t always predict how someone will react to a joke or to being asked out on a date. While some may find those actions to be harmless, others may feel threatened or uncomfortable. Therefore, having regular training sessions can get everyone on the same page about how they need to conduct themselves on the job.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
If you believe that you have been the victim of workplace harassment, don’t be afraid to communicate your feelings. In some cases, a simple conversation may be enough to get your colleagues to change their behavior. In addition, being persistent may be the best way to ensure that your case is taken seriously by your superiors. If no one in your firm takes your allegations seriously, you can file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If you have been treated differently at work because of your gender, race or other characteristics, you may have grounds to take legal action. It may be possible to obtain compensation for back pay or the value of lost benefits if you are wrongfully terminated.