By Monica Brown

Today we will unpack #part6  of the article *Addressing Gender-Based Violence in the South African Workplaces*.

Without further delays let us get into emphasising the responsibility of employers to create a safe and inclusive work environment that is free from #gbv. This includes accountability for addressing complaints, implementing preventive measures and fostering a culture of zero tolerance.We will also look at the intimate relationship between gender-based violence in the workplace and toxic workplaces.

Employers have a significant responsibility to create a safe and inclusive work environment, particularly when it comes to addressing #gbv at work. Here are key aspects of their responsibility:

  1. Prevention and Policies: Employers should establish comprehensive policies and guidelines explicitly addressing gender-based violence , including sexual harassment, assault, discrimination and other forms of misconduct.These policies should outline expected behaviours , define consequences for violations and provide clear reporting procedures.
  2. Educational Training: Employers must ensure that all employees receive regular training and education on the prevention of #gbv. Training sessions should focus on promoting awareness, fostering respectful workplace behaviour, bystander intervention and the appropriate reporting mechanisms available.
  3. Confidential Reporting Channels: Employers should establish confidential and accessible reporting channels that allow victims of #gbv to come forward safely. These channels should maintain confidentiality , protect the privacy of victims and ensure non-retaliation against individuals who report incidents.
  4. Prompt Investigation and Action: Employers have a responsibility to promptly and impartially investigate all reports of #genderbasedviolence . Thorough investigations demonstrate a commitment to addressing the issue and provide victims with a sense of trust and confidence in the process. Once investigations are complete , appropriate action should be taken, including disciplinary measures if necessary.
  5. Support and Resources : Employers should provide victims with access to support services, such as counselling, legal advice and medical assistance. Collaborating with external organisations specialising in #gbv can ensure comprehensive and expert support for survivors.
  6. Cultivating a respectful culture: Employers must foster a workplace culture that promotes respect , equality and zero-tolerance for #gbv . This includes setting a positive example from leadership, encouraging open communication, addressing power imbalances and promoting diversity and inclusion.
  7. Continuous Evaluation and Improvement: Employers should regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their policies, reporting mechanisms and prevention strategies. By seeking feedback from employees , conducting surveys and monitoring trends, organisations can identify areas for improvement and take proactive measures to create a safer work environment.

In conclusion creating a safe and inclusive work environment free from #gbv is not only a legal obligation for employers but also a moral imperative . by fulfilling their responsibility, employers contribute to the well-being , productivity and success of their employees while fostering a culture of respect and dignity for all.

The organisational responsibility of employers regarding #gbv in the workplace is crucial. Ultimately employers have a duty to create a work environment where all employees can thrive without the fear of being violated. #Toxicworkplaces contribute to the decay of people taking care of their mental health at work as this spills over at home. Most people spends most of their active time in a day at work, so employers please take that into consideration.

As an employer you need to prioritise the well-being of your workforce by promoting work-life balance, encourage self-care and provide resources such as counselling or wellness programs.

So what is the connection between gender-based violence in the workplace and toxic workplaces?

Some people believe there is no connection . I beg to differ because of the fact that #gbv in the workplace and toxic workplaces are interconnected and can reinforce each other.

The connection between the two according to my experience are the following:

  1. Power Imbalances: Both gender based violence in the workplace and toxic workplaces often stem from power imbalances within the organisational hierarchy.In the toxic workplaces, individuals in positions of power may abuse their authority , perpetrating a hostile and unsafe environment. This power dynamic also contribute to #gbv at work , with perpetrators exploiting their position to exert control over victims.
  2. Hostile Environment: Toxic workplaces are characterised by a hostile and negative environment, where disrespectful behaviour, bullying and harassment are prevalent. This type of environment fosters a culture that normalises and enables #gbv , as it creates an atmosphere where harmful actions are tolerated or overlooked.
  3. Lack of Accountability: In toxic workplaces , there is often a lack of accountability for abusive behaviour. Perpetrators may face minimal consequences or go unpunished , creating a sense of thrive, as victims may fear reprisal or not have faith in the reporting and investigative processes.
  4. Impact on Mental and Emotional Well-Being: Both toxic workplaces and #gbv at work have detrimental effects on employees’ mental and emotional well-being. The constant stress, fear and anxiety experienced in toxic environments can exacerbate the trauma and emotional toll faced by victims of #gbv in the workplace. The combination of the two can significantly impact an individual’s overall health and job satisfaction.
  5. Undermining Equality and Inclusion: Toxic workplaces perpetuate an environment that undermines #equality and #inclusion. GBV often targets individuals based on #gender, reinforcing gender inequalities and creating barriers for the marginalised groups to fully participate and advance in their #careers. This undermines efforts to create #diverse#inclusive and #equitable #workplaces.

Final Thoughts:

Addressing toxic workplaces is crucial to #preventing and #combatting #gbv. By fostering a culture of #respect, promoting equality and holding individuals accountable for their behaviour, organisations can create a safe and supportive environment that reduce the risk of #gbv and fosters the well-being of all employees.

Monica Brown, Changemaker, Activist And Social Entrepreneur, CRW NEWS Freelance Columnist

Article Reproduced with Permission from Monica Brown

To view the original article by Monica Brown on LinkedIn visit here

We hope you enjoyed the article, there will be more regular weekly articles from Monica Brown coming soon.