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Preventing sexual harassment

It can be difficult and distressing to read about sexual harassment cases. Often, we highlight specific issues related to sexual harassment or speak about the topic broadly because employees and employers need to be aware of sexual harassment and know how to spot it in the workplace.

But once you identify certain conduct as sexual harassment, it's equally important to know how to stop it. Being proactive is usually best, but what about when you work in an industry that maintains a culture of chronic harassment?

Recode, an online publication focusing on news in the technology industry, recently broached the subject of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley. The link includes a podcast episode, where the team from Recode interviewed two female CEOs about sexual harassment. We recommend listening to the whole episode, but the story also includes seven key takeaways:

  1. Put women in the room. This is straightforward. A more diverse workplace is better for everyone.
  2. Google first, tweet later. The idea here is to make sure you have the necessary knowledge before sharing your view.
  3. Go beyond Google. Even if you've done research, it's important to talk to people and get a complete picture.
  4. Be proactive. Be transparent and have a plan in place for when incidents of harassment occur.
  5. Educate. They argue that this isn't just about the workplace. Education about sexual harassment should start in school.
  6. Make a small statement. If you notice something is wrong, show your displeasure. Even if it's in a small way.
  7. Look inward. Everyone needs to look at the role they play and take responsibility, whether that's speaking out or acknowledging your own behavior.

Again, we recommend listening to the whole podcast, but the key takeaway is that everyone can play a role in stopping or preventing sexual harassment.

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