If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you may be aware of some serious allegations that have been made about Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly, who has been with Fox News for more than 20 years, is best known for his show “The O’Reilly Factor” – and recent allegations have shown that he’s paid out nearly $13 million to 5 previous harassment victims, as alleged settlements for inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment.
More than 20 different companies have already pulled advertising from his show, and many corporations and individuals are calling for his resignation, including for his show to be terminated entirely. The media furor over his behavior has even spawned hashtag – #DropOReilley – wherein victims of sexual harassment or inappropriate workplace conduct have shared their stories.
The victims who are sharing their stories are overwhelmingly female, but the scary part about the #DropOReilly hashtag is how prevalent harassment is across dozens of industries. Paralegals, construction workers, members of the US military and even nurses have used the hashtag to talk about their stories of harassment – and show the world that workplace sexual harassment is far from a thing of the past.
At Scrubs Magazine, we think that it’s crucial to maintain this dialogue, and discuss workplace sexual harassment. It’s an uncomfortable topic, but as many female nurses – and even some male nurses – know, it happens. Knowing how to respond to sexual harassment properly and prevent further harassment by problem individuals is crucial.
Here’s a list of tips that can help you make your workplace safe, positive, and harassment-free. Whether you’re just a shift nurse, or a nurse supervisor, this information is certain to help your organization as we work together to put a stop to workplace sexual harassment – once and for all.
- Make Sure Your Hospital Has Clear Guidelines And Recourse For Sexual Harassment
The first thing you should do is understand the specific guidelines present in your hospital, clinic, or physician practice, as they relate to sexual harassment. The employee handbook that is given to new employees at your hospital should include, at a bare minimum:
- A clear definition of sexual harassment
- A set of regulations stating that the organization will not tolerate any sexual harassment of any kind
- Clear guidelines regarding the discipline and dismissal of perpetrators
- Intuitive and simple procedures for filing sexual harassment complaints
- A pledge to fully investigate any and all complaints received
- A pledge that anyone who reports sexual harassment is exempt from retaliation
All of these elements of a robust sexual harassment policy are crucial in fighting employee misconduct. Employees must be certain that they have a method by which they can report harassment – whether of themselves, or of coworkers – and that their concerns will be listened to, and appropriate action will be taken.
- Keep An Eye Out For Inappropriate Behavior
54% of all employees have reported being targets of sexual harassment, in an Aware.org study. 79% of the victims were women, and 21% of the victims were men. It’s important, then, to be aware of your workplace environment, and make sure that your coworkers, colleagues, and superiors are behaving correctly.
Even if you have never experienced sexual harassment yourself, you may have witnessed it – and you should not stand silently by, if that’s the case. Watch for explicit, sexual, or inappropriate behavior, and report it if you think that it is a cause for concern. You cannot be a bystander – you must take active action to prevent harassment.
- Report Sexual Harassment Immediately To The Relevant Authorities
If you are a victim of sexual harassment – or are a witness to it – don’t wait to report it. Don’t ignore it. Report it to Human Resources, your supervisor, or another relevant authority immediately. The sooner you report the incident, the more quickly steps may be taken to resolve it, and punish the individual responsible for this illicit conduct..
- Don’t Fear Retaliation – You’re Protected By Law
The Department of State, individual hospitals, and state/local laws all set forth provisions on the protection of workers who allege sexual harassment complaints. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you are protected. It is unlawful for employers or supervisors to retaliate against you for reporting workplace harassment.
Do not fear retaliation. The worst thing that you can do – whether you experience sexual harassment yourself, or witness it – is nothing. If you do nothing, the harassment will continue. There will be more victims. This is unacceptable in a hospital – your efforts should be focused on patient outcomes and smooth operations, not worrying if a colleague is going to harass you or a coworker.
Never stay silent. If you are a victim, you are protected – and you deserve justice.
Take Action Against Workplace Sexual Harassment – And Change The World
Sexual harassment in nursing has always been a problem – but if we work together, we can help reduce the number of nurses affected by workplace harassment, and create a more positive, friendly environment for everyone in the healthcare industry.
So follow these tips. Take action. Speak out. If we stand together, we can help end sexual harassment, and send a clear message to the world – enough is enough.