It seems pretty intuitive that to avoid being accused of sexually harassing people, you should not harass, violate, or assault individuals. But with the constant flow of men discovered to be creating hostile, inappropriate work environments and relationships, it begs the question of whether or not they really know what that means.
It might be true that there are men are sitting at their desks, wondering if they are responsible for behaving the same way as those being publicly accused. However, it should be pretty obvious when you have been inappropriate versus respectful to your employees and coworkers. And men do not need to avoid women, keep them out of meetings, or walk on eggshells around them to steer clear of sexual harassment claims.
That is not good for women’s careers. But perhaps some men need to have it explained to them: what is appropriate and not in the workplace.
Not sexually harassing peoplereally is quite simple. And you can do it yourself with a few easy steps and occasional reminders of how to be appropriate in the office.
Watch How You Speak
There is a test you can do on yourself to know if you might be teetering the line between right and wrong. Ask yourself “‘Does what I’m about to say further the productivity of the office?” because you want to keep a friendly work environment, but you do not want to go over the line.
Be a Mentor, but Not a Creep
Lately, it has come to attention that men are saying they are less likely to mentor women out of fear of harassment complaints. Those types of insecurities by men in male-dominated fields like tech and engineering are going to hurt potential for women to advance their careers in those and other sectors. Women need allies. And that will not end up with a label as a sexual predator without valid reason.
Non-Fraternization Rules are Helpful
And following them yourself is better. Keep your dating pool outside the office.
Keep it Classy In and Out of the Office
Holiday parties, happy hours, and business trips are not reasons to forgo the rules of appropriate behavior expected in the walls of the office. Keep it professional.
Lead by Example
Seeing an employee or colleague being harassed and not reporting it is unethical. If the actions or behavior appears wrong, question it and speak out. You can start by confronting the perpetrator, but do not rule out reporting to HR if things are not curbed immediately.
Be the advocate and ally for the women in your office. You will be happier for it, and so will they.