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DI supports initiative: Break the taboo of sexual harassment

Break the taboo – and talk about respect, proper tone and behaviour at the workplace. That is the message from Minister for Equal Opportunities Karen Ellemann and Minister for Employment Troels Lund Poulsen in a letter to Denmark’s managers, companies and public institutions. The Confederation of Danish Industry supports the initiative.

Publiceret: 28.02.2018
Af Felix Bekkersgaard Stark mail

“Employers and employees can get better at promoting a workplace culture where everyone is more conscious of what constitutes a good tone and where everyone works together to ensure that there are clear, established and up-do-date policies for how to handle unacceptable behaviour - and that these are enforced.”

This is the message from Minister for Equal Opportunities Karen Ellemann and Minister for Employment Troels Lund Poulsen in a letter encouraging managers, companies and public institutions in Denmark to step up efforts to prevent sexual harassment at workplaces.

“It is important that workplaces actively and continuously work to prevent sexual harassment, and that they have the right tools to handle it. This can be done collectively in the works council, at staff meetings or in other forums that suit the individual workplace,” the ministers write in the letter.

Very few cases


At the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), Senior Consultant Jan Lorentzen notes that the organisation handles very few sexual harassment cases a year. Usually, it is companies that call in seeking advice on how to handle a case where an employee has accused a colleague of sexual harassment.

“Most companies outline expectations for interactions with colleagues, clients etc. in their staff policy. It is a good idea to consider during peacetime how you will prevent and handle sexual harassment cases.
This sends a clear signal that there are limits to what constitutes acceptable behaviour. And it makes it easier to take action, should a case arise,” says Jan Lorentzen.

According to the senior consultant, it is also a good idea to bring up norms and behaviour regularly in the company’s works council.
“It’s possible that new employees who join a company do not have the same views as those who have been at the company for a long time. The Confederation of Danish Industry has cooperated with the
Danish Working Environment Authority and social partners to create a pamphlet with advice on how to prevent sexual harassment, which we recommend that companies consult,” says Jan Lorentzen.

FACTS

Advice on how to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace
 
Create common and well-established norms, values and policies for the kind of behaviour that is expected at the workplace and the kind of behaviour is not tolerated.
 
Create clear guidelines for how employees can get help and file a complaint should they experience sexual harassment.
 
Let managers show employees that the company takes responsibility for ensuring that sexual harassment does not occur at the workplace, among other things by enforcing policies on unacceptable behaviour.
 
Take it seriously if employees reach out and promote a trusting dialogue so that employees feel safe in breaking the taboo and asking for help in the case of sexual harassment.
 
Consider whether it would be relevant to train managers and employees, so that the proper competencies for handling sexual harassment are in place, should it happen at the workplace.

It is a good idea to consider during peacetime how you will prevent and handle sexual harassment cases. This sends a clear signal that there are limits to what constitutes acceptable behaviour.

SENIOR CONSULTANT JAN LORENTZEN, DI
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PUBLISHED: 2/28/2018 LAST MODIFIED: 2/28/2018