As it’s the 21st century, it’s hard to imagine that working professionals still have to deal with sexism in the workplace. The gender pay gap is a very real issue, and large companies have made news in recent months for being unable to squash sexism in their offices.
Being a small business owner with a small number of staff, part of you thinks that given the numbers, there’s no way sexism can infiltrate your friendly little office. Nothing is impossible. Though you may celebrate equality and champion equal rights, you could have an employee who doesn’t share the same world view.
If a staff member believes they are being mistreated in the workplace because of their gender, they can take you to court. If you don’t have business insurance, the cost of litigation and restitution can put you out of business.
After you compare small business insurance quotes with CoverHound, look into how you can curb sexism in your workplace. A good place to start is right here and now: just continue reading!
Action One: If an employee says something sexist in front of you or the group, have them repeat it. But wait, why would you have a negative comment said aloud again? Here’s why: by being forced to repeat the comment again, Bustle argues that the speaker will hear the negativity of their words, feel humiliated and will work not to have the same embarrassment happen again.
Action Two: If you witness your male staff often interrupting their female counterparts in business meetings, stop the behavior immediately. According to the Huffington Post, women are interrupted in the office setting twice as much as men. Keep a tally of how often your female employees are interrupted at meetings. For each interruption, correct the interrupter, and let that individual know that no one is to speak until the person who has the floor is finished. By correcting the interrupting behavior, you will see the tallied numbers go down.
If the numbers are not going down, you will need to take the interrupter aside and have a closed-door discussion with them about their behavior. If the behavior still does not subside, they will need to be issued a warning and have it marked in their HR file. If the individual continues with their negative behavior, consider against their employment contract renewal.
Action Three: Have a sensitivity training session. Your staff should be aware of actions that are allowed and not allowed at work. Making sexualized jokes, commenting on physical appearances and sharing indecent personal stories are all out of bounds in the workplace. You may have some staff members that don’t realize it’s inappropriate to discuss their intimate personal lives or to ask for the details of their colleagues. A sensitivity training session will help your staff to suss out what is and isn’t professional workplace conversation.
Just because you understand what is acceptable workplace behavior doesn’t mean every member of your staff does. To prepare against a negative incident, follow the tips above and make sure to get small business insurance as a backup measure with CoverHound!