Let’s hear it for the women (and men) who have been brave enough to call out perpetrators of sexual assault. With the launch if the #metoo movement two years ago, and with recent weeks’ spotlight on alleged assault in parliament, one thing is certain: a huge number of sexual assaults take place in the work environment. With that in mind, your salon needs a specific sexual assault policy; and you need to be clear about it.
Know the law
You can’t meet your moral obligations if you don’t have a thorough understanding of them. As an employer and business owner, it is your duty to ensure the safety of every staff member, and that the environment they come to work in is free of harassment. “It’s important to understand that sexual assault is about more than rape,” says HR expert Mia Clarke. “It’s any unwelcome sexual behaviour, be it physical or innuendo, which can make someone feel intimidated, unsafe, humiliated or offended.”
Ensure your staff understand
Sticking the policy up on the wall isn’t enough, says Mia. You need to really educate your staff on your expectations of their behaviour. “Ignorance can’t be a defence,” says Mia. “Have an information session with your team, role play different scenarios to ensure that they thoroughly understand just what constitutes harassment. If they then breach the policy, you are in a position to take further action.”
Give your team a voice
Make it clear to your team that if they experience any behaviour that they believe to be inappropriate, or if they witness someone else being targeted, they must call it out. “You need to ensure your staff know that they are expected to speak up and that their concerns will be met with understanding and compassion. But furthermore, they need to know their complaints won’t be swept under the rug. Once you have been informed, it’s imperative that you investigate.
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