Workplace harassment does exist. Whether it is frequently reported or not is a concern, but some people experience it every day. Employee harassment is a topic that has rarely been discussed publicly, but this is changing. This could be because people want to keep their jobs, especially as the unemployment rate in the country is high. Some people experience harassment, intimidation, and oppression at their workplaces, gradually coming to the fore. Work environments and conditions contribute to the performance of employees.
Therefore, an environment where people are constantly under pressure will eventually lead to sub-optimal job performance and mental health concerns. There are various kinds of workplace harassment that employees are often exposed to, including verbal harassment, sexual harassment, psychological harassment, cyberbullying, and physical harassment.
While sexual harassment is the most talked-about form of harassment, verbal harassment is more common but less reported. Some bosses verbally insult their subordinates, while others shout at them and harass them publicly. There are several cases of bosses physically assaulting their employees. These unprofessional practices are commonplace in Nigeria’s start-up space as there have been reported cases of such trending on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Companies have ethical and reputational concerns as employee harassment by superiors is fast becoming a matter worthy of investigation and prosecution. The reason most incidents of workplace harassment go unreported is usually that employees are afraid of losing their sources of livelihood. Such fiery bosses typically fire on the spot, and in a bid to preserve their jobs despite the associated toxicity, victims keep mute.
However, quite recently, there has been a growing trend of employees speaking up about their erring bosses. Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram have made this easy and possible. People could muster up some courage, describe their account of an incident on their phones, and share it on digital platforms. People are encouraged to speak out and share their stories with this.
Sexual harassment, just like every other form of harassment, is demeaning, condescending, and humiliating. Most victims of harassment usually seek therapy via counseling before they can be deemed mentally fit and healthy. This shows that harassment has a significant effect on the mental well-being of its victims.
Companies and other corporate organizations must have straightforward policies that discourage workplace harassment and promote equitable inclusion. If there were no policies that encouraged reporting, investigation, and punishment of workplace harassment, employees would not feel protected. Any boss or employer that identifies equitable inclusion as an essential policy will ensure that employees get fair treatment. Their opinions will matter.
Workplace harassment will be easy to address when employees feel heard. Cases will be frequently reported, and actions will be taken in adherence to the strict harassment policies of the company. Eliminating the possibility of workplace harassment is not entirely possible, but all stakeholders can try to improve the employee experience.
An organisation with robust anti-harrassment policies will benefit immensely from a focused workforce. Workers deserve a conducive environment to execute thier respective duties.