Slide 14 of 14
I-O psychologists are not lawyers. Their primary role in dealing with sexual harassment
is a preventative one. First, they can help organizations develop effective policies and
procedures for dealing with sexual harassment. While this may include formal complaint
procedures, I-O psychologists can also help establish intermediate steps (e.g., coaching)
that may help resolve problems before they escalate.
Training to address the problem of sexual harassment often begins with a common
understanding of what constitutes harassment, from both a legal and psychological
standpoint. The cases outlined previously are one type of approach taken to raise
awareness of what is and is not sexual harassment.
The next step may involve providing employees with standards of communication that help
avoid harassment before it happens. Awareness of the types of language that could be
offensive to others is just a first step. Again, the purpose of this training is to raise
sensitivity to the feelings and perceptions of others.
Third, training in conflict resolution assists managers when a harassment situation
develops. Such training provides skills to address the situation and come to a
mutually-accepted resolution (if possible). If a resolution is not possible, this training
also outlines the procedures required in the companys policy on sexual harassment.
Use of the appropriate grievance channels is often an issue in sexual harassment