First of all, the background of the simulation is about the medium-sized organization, which has roughly 600 staff with completely no increase in the growth of the development rate in the human resource division. Yet, this firm has undergone significant expansion in the past few years. The chief executive officer (CEO) has assigned us to get the Human Resources Department organized and build a strong human resource function. Being the Director of this Human resource team, each decision to be completed in this game requires parallel efforts, whereas the human resource concepts and practices are also combined in this simulation, thus several challenges were confronted. In this essay, sexual harassment is the special incident that I intend to choose it. Hence, the objective of this article is to examine the sexual harassment that occurred in this simulation by illustrating its benefits and risks, as well as the decision that our team has made to improve such a situation. Further, the outcome of such a decision will be also discussed for a few reasons.
The trend of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is identified as discrimination in which the verbal or physical act of a sexual nature while performed in recruitment or in the workplace by a top manager or employee, customer, or client of a working unit. It is unacceptable conduct that the individual receiving it with the purpose of violating one’s dignity, in particular when creating an intimidating, degrading, humiliating, offensive, or unbearable hostile environment (McGolgan 2004). According to a survey conducted by the Commission of Australian Equal Opportunity in 2004, there were 18% of respondents aged between 18 and 64 years said that they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. With respect to those who experienced sexual harassment, 62% faced physically harassed and less than 37 % were likely to report the mistreatment (ILO 1988). This research also demonstrated that both men and women would experience sexual harassment at work. Yet, it is most commonly experienced by women and especially those who are financially dependent, single, young, divorced, or with migrant status, whereas, for men, the most harassed are the member of ethnic or racial minorities and especially young. Therefore, policies and procedures should be implemented by the employer to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, in order to maintain a positive workplace environment.
Zero-tolerance Policy to Address Sexual Harassment
As the human resource director, regardless of whether the organization is a large-scale firm or small business, every employer has a responsibility to take steps for preventing sexual harassment in the company. Effective workplace measures require a visible and proactive stance by organizational leaders against sexual harassment (Gruber 1998). It is important for employers and management to make clear to every staff and subordinates to know that sexual harassment is unacceptable in the workplace, so as to prevent sexual harassment. This can be done by implementing a clear sexual harassment policy by communicating it to each workplace worker and making sure that they are thoroughly understood about it. +(Last 3 years ago...in case) Yet, a zero-tolerance is being taken by our team during the simulation with taking proactive steps for cultivating this policy to make the commitment of our organization more visible. At first, Zero-tolerance has been defined as a broad range of strict, inflexible organizational and governmental institutional policies prohibiting unlawful sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in any form. Anyone who violates the zero-tolerance policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may be terminated or dismissed immediately (Henault 2001).
Benefits of zero-tolerance policy to organizations and employees
Creating a culture of respect and accountability in the organization which will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form, can bring benefits to both organization and its employees. Organizations with establishing a clear intolerance for sexual harassment, well-defined policy and procedures, as well as transparently implemented this practice can reduce the likelihood of sexual harassment behaviors (Chelsea, Piers & Kibeom 2007). When the best interest of the employer is to create a work environment that discourages sexual harassment in the workplace by implementing a zero-tolerance policy, a harmonious work environment can be established. Meanwhile, the productivity of the organization will be increased as well, and the absenteeism as well as turnover will be reduced, due to the proper intervention or action taken promptly by the employer to prevent and address harassment. Conversely, it will incredibly demoralizing to the employees if the complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace are not taken seriously and proper measures are not taken (Bowling & Beehr 2006). This, in turn, leads to the high psychological stress of the employee and results in lower productivity, increase absenteeism, and facilitates high turnover. Thus, organizations that exhort to develop zero-tolerance sexual harassment policies can protect themselves from liability as well as increase the loyalty of the employees to the firm while maintaining a safe, fairer, and disciplined working environment.
Besides the benefits to the organization of taking zero-tolerance, there are also benefits to the employees. According to the Commission of the Australis Human Rights, there are only 17% of the sexual harassment victims report and it means that there are 83 %of incidents are unnoticed by the supervisors or managers. Zero-tolerance is an effective tool for minimizing the cases of sexual harassment in the workplace by taking claims seriously and protecting complaints from retaliation, as well as punishing the perpetrators. Creating an organizational climate that is intolerant of sexual harassment, can encourage our employees to report sexual harassment as well as support the individuals who report it (Mindy et al. 2002 ). In other words, prompting a culture that allows space for support and understanding through a zero-tolerance policy, is in terms of creating a workplace environment that empowers workers, creates a sense of psychological safety, fosters respect as well as encourages resiliency when negative events occur. Certainly, the adoption of zero-tolerance for sexual harassment indicating the attitude of corporate that any complaints will be dealt with equitably and swiftly (Stockdale et al. 2004), helps foster the sense of psychological safety of the employees, in order to increase job satisfaction of the staff while decreasing the grievance of the workers in the firm (Edmondson 1999). Therefore, implementing zero-tolerance through the organization's commitment to have a safe working environment for the employees, enable the workers to work with dignity and integrity.
Costs to organizations (Employer)and employees
On the contrary, if the zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment is not reinforced in the firm, it may increase the negative impacts of sexual harassment on both organization and the employee in the workplace. In fact, the adverse consequences for victims of sexual harassment would translate into a low-productive work environment. The cost to the firm also encompassed the increase in turnover and absenteeism, fewer individuals and group productivity, while losing the managerial time to investigate the complaints and legal expenses which comprised the litigation costs and compensation to victims (Willness, Steel & Lee 2007). On the other hand, the costs to the employees would have a wide range of negative outcomes as well. Undoubtedly, the productivity and pay of victims of sexual harassment are expected to be lower if sexual harassment induces turnover, increases the rate of absenteeism, and the work time is generally being wasted because the workers try to avoid interacting with harassers. Meanwhile, the psychological and physical health of the employees would be worse by the job insecurity, which may result in lowing job satisfaction as well as less commitment to the organization. Even, the victims may have lower earnings due to the workplace sexual harassment reduces worker productivity (Hersch 2011). Under such negative working conditions, the victims may face a high risk of being physically or mentally injured which may ultimately be costly to both the victims and the firm to eliminate.
The most important reason to consider a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment
As our company noted that there are still a few incidents of sexual harassment over the last year, even though our organization hired an outside training consultant to present a three-hour program to all employees on the policy. Yet, it is difficult to conduct sexual harassment training due to the lack of standards defining specific behaviors of sexual harassment (Keyton 1996). Notably, some recent research illustrated that most of the sexual harassment training is only effective in improving the knowledge of employees about sexual harassment, but not necessarily changing their behaviors (Burke & Cooper 2013). Indeed, training may offer a level of legal protection, but it cannot assure that the policy and procedure would be translated into changed behavior (Hill& Silver 2005). On the contrary, zero tolerance is showing great promise for minimizing the incident of sexual harassment in order to safeguard the safety of the staff. Inevitably, a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment demonstrates the strongest possible penalty, the termination of the perpetrator when the investigation reveals that the harassment has occurred in the legal sense (Perkovich & Rowe 2000). Furthermore, the notion of deterring future misconduct is the core of the zero-tolerance philosophy and the impact of any consequence on future behavior is the defining characteristic of effective punishment (Skinner 1953). Hence, the swift and certain punishment of zero-tolerance has a deterrent effect on the employees, so as to improve overall employee behavior and discipline in the firm.