JS Tip 459: An Ounce of Prevention . . . .

From the Harassment Workshops: An Ounce of Prevention . . . 


  • This may be a difficult tip. We have no agenda here but to advocate for a healthier and more successful workplace. 


    While this Tip addresses leadership responsibilities, it applies to everyone. We’re all part of the team. 


We’ve been talking about sexual harassment in the workplace. We’ve talked about “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment.”

We haven’t talked about preventing harassment in the workplace. It’s better—and easier—and cheaper—to prevent harassment than to deal with the repercussions. The damage to teamwork. The loss of reputation. The expense of lawsuits.

Three questions:

  1. Is everyone treated with equal respect? Is everyone listened to? Are there listening opportunities? Is there equal opportunity? Is the system fair—and perceived to be fair? (Notice we said “equal respect.” Not everyone can have a corner office.)


  2. Is there a clear policy in place forbidding harassment? Is that policy publicized, explained, taught, discussed, and enforced on a regular basis? Is the policy part of new-hire training? 


  3. Are there clear reporting channels (plural)? The first channel should be through the leadership chain. Leaders are legally (and ethically) responsible for ensuring a harassment-free work environment. (It’s one of the two leadership imperatives: “Take care of your people.”)

The second channel should be through an organizational omsbudsman or advocate—if going through the leadership chain isn’t available.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let us know.

Thank you.


Mark Brooks