In the past couple of years, since the rise of the #MeToo Movement, sexual harassment has been brought to the forefront as a pervasive social environment toxin that affects the majority of people, especially women. 

Sexual harassment is not limited to certain places but can occur everywhere, even in the workplace. This article shall delve into tips that HR can use to prevent such occurrences at work. 


Sexual harassment in the workplace can be defined as unwelcome sexual conduct including unwelcome physical contact, suggestive comments and/ or jokes, sexually explicit emails and/or messages, unwanted date invitations and/or unwanted requests for sexual interactions.  

Anyone can be a victim of such misconduct; it is gender neutral. Men can harass women, and women can harass men; men can harass men, and women can harass women. However, statistics show that the majority of sexual harassment is committed against women by men.    

Given the alarming percentage of reported cases, HR’s responsibility is to devise a strategy to manage and prevent unwanted sexual misconduct in the workplace. Let’s have a look at some valuable tips: 

Defining Sexual Harassment and Setting Up Policies 

Unfortunately, some employees might not be aware that specific behaviour is considered inappropriate. Therefore, the company needs to issue a clear definition of what sexual harassment is. It is also essential for the company to clarify that anyone who acts inappropriately will be held responsible for their actions, no matter their position within the company. 

Providing Internal Training 

HR should also ensure that employees receive the appropriate training regarding sexual misconduct. Training should consist of definitions, procedures as well as providing knowledge on local laws regarding the topic.  

Another essential factor that must be included during training sessions is how to ensure the victim’s safety after they file the complaint. It is also beneficial to make therapy sessions with a health professional available for your employees. 

Workplace Climate Surveys and Monitoring 

Another tool that HR can use is a Workplace Climate Survey. Examples of questions for the survey are the following: 

  • Has anyone ever touched you in a way that made you feel uncomfortable?
  • Has anyone ever passed comments about you or another colleague which you found disrespectful?
  • Has anyone ever made unwanted attempts to establish a sexual (or intimate) relationship with you?
  • Do you ever feel uncomfortable in any areas in the building? (Enclosed spaces, areas with minor visual oversights etc.)?

Through such surveys, HR would be able to identify problem areas and improve such blind spots by ensuring better monitoring and supervising employees’ behaviour. 

Encouraging a Bystander Policy 

Finally, HR needs to encourage a Bystander Policy. It means that they should encourage employees to report any witnessed inappropriate behaviour, even if they are not the direct victims. It will create a sense of community and allyship against any inappropriate and unwanted behaviour, ensuring everyone’s safety and security. Moreover, this would help victims who might be scared to report specific incidents, fearing retaliation. 

Why GCS Malta?

Sexual harassment is an invasive problem, and everyone should take the time to address it. Here at GCS Malta, we believe that no one should feel threatened, uncomfortable, or intimidated by colleagues, superiors and/or customers/clients; therefore, we work extremely hard to ensure everyone’s safety.  

We implement the above tips daily, and our Recruitment Team can help you develop policies, training, and surveys to end harassment, once and for all. So get in touch today for more information. 


Article written by Christabelle Borg.