Mid-Michigan employers learning how to prevent workplace harassment
Sexual harassment allegations have rocked some of the top organizations across the country and the issue is now front and center.
Now, a Mid-Michigan company is trying to be a part of the solution. Expert Human Resources hosted a free seminar for employers on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.
Jim McGuinness is the Vice President at Saginaw Bay Underwriters and says the recent wave of sexual harassment allegations is a wake up call.
"Many employers have overlooked the situation with sexual harassment choosing to not get involved," says McGuiness.
That's why he took part in a human resources seminar, hosted by HR specialist Vanessa Nelson.
"A lot of employers are revamping their policies, they're getting more sexual harassment training, I'm getting more and more calls about it," says Nelson
Nelson is the president of Expert Human Resources in Flint Township.
She says sexual harassment can be interpreted in many ways, and the bottom line comes down to how an action or comment made a person feel.
"Sexual harassment depends on what makes a certain person uncomfortable so there might be one person that says it doesn't bother them at all but it may be another person that it makes them uncomfortable and that's what matters. If it makes them uncomfortable, it should be investigated,".
Katrina Royster is HR director at the Valley Area Agency on Aging and says having a clear policy and an open door sets the standard for the workplace.
"You're the gatekeeper for the organization. If an allegation comes through the door it's going to hit your desk so you want to make sure that you are training your top executives all the way down to the janitor," says Royster.
And it's critical to let everyone know any form of sexual harassment isn't welcome in the workplace.
"It's very important that staff know you know what is sexual harassment, how can I recognize sexual harassment, who I need to tell if I'm being sexually harassed," says Royster.
And for many organizations, that's the first step in making sure everyone is comfortable at work.
"A lot of employers are wondering what their policies look like and what they should be doing," says McGuiness.