In marketing they say sex sells, but in human resources we say sexual harassment costs.
We have all witnessed inappropriate behaviour at our place of employment that would be considered sexual harassment. Often in appropriate job behaviour takes the form of an off-colored joke, inappropriate comment or perhaps it is more subtle with an innuendo and look .
A few years back I handled a sexual harassment complaint for a large national company. As an HR professional, I know first hand the cost of these types of complaints on the complainant, the respondent, the morale of their work group and to the company. Those directly involved in these cases were concerned for their professional reputation, personal relationships, their marriage, legal action, the future of their work environment, and the future of their employment. And those around them were not immune to the negative effects. Colleagues felt they were being asked to take sides during the investigation and even after in the day to day job interactions with the complainant and respondent. Believe me it was no laughing matter for anyone involved. So employment legislation is not the only reason to comply with the policies.
Some may feel respectful workplace and harassment policies over-sanitize our work environment, then again what are the consequences without such employment policies?