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How Sexually transmitted infections and Sexual Harassment Can Harm Your Business

The People's Law Dictionary defines sexual harassment as "unwanted sexual approaches and Sexually transmitted infections or repeated unpleasant infections, degrading and/or sexist remarks directed towards an employee with sometime power we refer a director, manager, supervisor,  the implied suggestion that the target's employment status, promotion or favorable treatment depend upon a positive response and/or cooperation. and not tell her or him about the STD infection that have"  The reference material goes on to discuss the ability by which the victim can inflict legal consequences on the person who made the advances and the company who did not prevent the continuation of the behavior.  It is important to fully understand the legal definition of sexual harassment, as it pertains to the workplace, to appreciate the scope of damage that can result from such behavior.  The offending actions do not only affect the two people involved, they invoke a ripple effect that spans out to all those in the organization.
Assuming the reader is familiar with the mechanics of sexual harassment and Sexually transmitted infections, let us take a brief look at how the victim is influenced by the offences.  To be clear, each victim perceives offending advances on different scales of severity.  A lewd comment may be of no consequence to one person and wholly offensive to another.  Regardless of their level of judgment, at some point the affronting behavior will escalate and produce the similar distressing effects in the victim.  To begin, let's look at how things will change before anyone (outside of the offender and the victim) knows what has happened.  The victim will feel uncomfortable in the workplace, resulting in decreased levels of productivity and increased absenteeism.  A loss of trust will occur for environments and personality types similar to those involved in the negative situation.  Perhaps significant projects or promotions will be given up in order to avoid a closer working relationship with the offender.  If the sexual harassment becomes known publicly, the damage can be much more devastating, regardless of the company policy on harassment in the workplace.  The victim may feel unfairly scrutinized, labeled as having an unsavory or over sexualized character, experience extreme stress, anxiety, depression, possible loss of support network, the distrust of a spouse or partner, and the potential loss of a professional recommendation.  These consequences have been known to initiate substance abuse, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and a whole host of other psychological concerns.  It cannot be overstated how harmful this behavior is to the victim.
Likewise is the harm sexual harassment included Sexually transmitted infections can inflict on the business as a whole.  Once the news of a transgression spreads through a workplace community, assumptions are made, people involved are demonized and the truth becomes sketchy.  Productivity decreases, either because workers are distracted with chat about the incident or because there is team conflict.  Team conflict can occur when members take differing sides; either that of the victim or that of the assumed offender.  The reduced productivity, of course leads to reduced revenue and perhaps the inability to meet financial goals.  Workers who may not feel the company has properly addressed the problem will experience diminished job satisfaction.  Absenteeism increases and in turn the loss of staff with expert or specialized skills.
So far, we have considered how sexual harassment can impact those directly involved and the business as a whole.  Now, let's take a look at the impact of having to bring an outside entity into the equation.  The knee-jerk reaction of many members of high-level management teams is to keep incidences of workplace sexual harassment under wraps, even ignored.  There may be fears of client loss, damage to the reputation of the business, embarrassment and even shame.  Meanwhile, the victim and possibly other members of staff who feel great anxiety over the situation, have a need to seek out psychological help.  If the victim is experiencing physical and mental ailments as a consequence from the harassment, medical treatment will be needed.  Regardless of when the costs will be borne by the company, they will have a financial impact on the bottom line.  If there is a widespread need of therapeutic care in the business, the cost will of course be higher.  Plus, with the need to bring in outside professionals to help the staff heal, those concerned with company reputation will no doubt seek widespread confidentiality among those involved.  If legal action is taken by either party, further costs to the company will be incurred.
Ignoring the problem will not prevent financial loss.  In the long run, it will actually cost a great deal more than if help is provided early on.  Consider the outcome of a workforce who now see an example of sexual harassment being permitted.  The perception will be that ethical standards in the company are of little consequence.  Those lack of ethics could be applied to all areas, not just harassment.  Perhaps staff will assume management now turns a blind eye to issues of security, theft of materials, theft of resources, or even corporate espionage.  Conversely, if there is a clearly defined policy on preventing, educating and defining sexual harassment, staff will feel more empowered to protect themselves and their coworkers from mistreatment.  Teaching the staff what harassment  looks like and feels like, not only defines the behavior, it encourages a culture of accountability.  Some educational resources include adjectives like intimidation, bullying and coercion of a sexual nature in their definition of sexual harassment.  While those words do bear a more emotional perspective, they are useful for identifying how an experience is in fact harassment.  Often sexual harassment in the workplace begins in subtle ways, with mild indiscretions or comments and escalates, leaving the victim wondering if they are over reacting or being prudish.  Clear characterizations of what sexual harassment entails will help in situations like these.  Plus, those who thought certain actions were ok may learn the acts can be perceived as offensive and hurtful.  If a member of the staff does experience persecution in a company where education on sexual harassment has taken place, they may feel more willing to report the offense.
Benjamin Franklin coined a phrase that is very fitting here: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Be open with your staff about what the ethical policies are for your business.  Educate them on what distasteful, offensive, hurtful and harassing behavior looks and sounds like.  Foster accountability.  Nurture the safety and morale of your workforce.

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