The root cause of the problem can also become a measure to eradicate the problem which it is responsible for. A contradictory statement that may confuse the reader at first, but I couldn’t come up with a better line to commence an article on the role of organizational culture in the prevalent cases of sexual harassment in a company.
Whenever we talk about workplace culture’s role in sexual harassment, many presume that fingers are being pointed at an organization as a whole and it’s some sort of strategy to defame one other. But when we look back at the recent cases of #metoo movements, we see that all activists and legal experts have said that to remove this evil from our workplaces, there is a dire need to implement institutional changes in the organizational culture. Various studies have also noted that while organizational culture has the greatest impact on the rising cases of sexual harassment, it could also be a company’s greatest asset to prevent this evil.
So, what would we call organizational culture?
It is an intangible force which one cannot see but can feel in the energy which a workplace creates. Or simply what the millennials would call ‘the vibe’ of the place.
This culture reflects the core beliefs of the company because an organization is more than what the numbers show on its balance sheet.
Whenever you pick up a book on business, this line will be present in all, that your employees are the most important resource of your company. So, it is instrumental for the management to create a work environment which initiates a dialogue of these complex and important issues and creates a redressal system where an employee can feel safe while reporting his or her grievances.
While looking at a series of relevant cases, what has been observed is that companies tend not to solve the issue or try to address it but to hide the fact that sexual harassment happened on their premises. This approach doesn’t solve the core problem, and the violations tend to repeat themselves. Gradually, the situation tends to get out of hand as it happened in the infamous case of Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News.
So, a company needs to initiate a dialogue, a conversation on this topic because when these seemingly uncomfortable discussions start happening, the employees will slowly become familiarized with the word sexual harassment. This will reinstate to them that their rights will be protected and guarded at all costs, which would lead to creating a sense of security and a more motivated workforce.
Moreover, when a company would consider sexual harassment training as not a mere compliance or a formality to tick the boxes but as an attempt to build a strong culture, the employees will also step forward with the same attitude. Together, these small efforts will help us walk towards a better future.
Authored by Hemansh Tandon
Hemansh Tandon is a Fourth Year Law Student, pursuing BBA LLB from IP University. He has participated in a number of Moot Court competitions and finds Constitutional Law and Human Rights very compelling and wishes to pursue it further. Apart from being an avid reader, he also has keen interest in Theatre.