One of your most important duties as an employer or a senior leader in an organization is the fostering of a safe working environment. When employees are protected from potential hazards and risks that could harm them, their well-being is protected, and morale and productivity increase. Workers will become more satisfied with their jobs, and it will be easier to recruit and retain top talents.

However, bad behavior remains a concern in the business landscape. Despite being widely known that the office is no place for violence, harassment, and other unacceptable behavior, you have a crucial role to play in curbing and preventing the escalation of negative behavior in the workplace.


Harassment is a serious concern in the workplace, and a 2023 survey by Deloitte shows that about 61% of Gen-Z and 49% of millennials experienced some form of harassment in the previous year. These worrying statistics point to the negligence of employers who let harassment happen on their watch.

“An employer has a legal responsibility to ensure employees have a safe and hazard-free workplace and workplace environment. In addition to taking care of the property, maintaining a safe workplace includes encouraging respectful relationships between employees and between employers and employees.

Sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation, and physical and verbal harassment can devastate victims, causing emotional and social damage. And the onus is on employers and leaders to create a safe and hazard-free workplace and workplace environment,” says a Miami sexual assault attorney.

Below are actionable tips that can help you protect your employees and create a safe work environment for everyone.

–       It Starts With Leadership

A toxic workplace is often a surefire sign of bad or sub-optimal leadership. Leading any group of people is never easy, and as an employer, you must commit to being an effective leader. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses to identify areas for improvement. Feedback from trusted people like coaches and mentors can also help you pinpoint what you need to work on.

Establish a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and communicate it to all workers. There should be clear expectations for professional behavior with an emphasis on respect and collaboration.

Embrace the popular saying about leading by example by demonstrating the kind of behavior and work ethic you expect from your team members. Provide ongoing education on what constitutes disrespectful or unacceptable behavior and maintain open communication channels that allow employees to report harassment without fear of retaliation.

–       Take Your Employees’ Complaints Seriously

Inform your workers of the process for harassment complaints and consider including it in the employee handbook for clarity and reference. And whenever someone complains, be sure to take it seriously.

The first thing to do when you receive a complaint is to acknowledge receipt and provide a timeline for resolution. Practice active listening and empathy when discussing the matter with the aggrieved party to fully understand their concerns. It’s important to ensure confidentiality to the greatest extent possible.

You’ll need to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation and keep detailed records of the entire process, starting from the moment the complaint was made. These documents can come in handy for reference or legal compliance.

The outcome of the investigation will determine whether there is a need for disciplinary measures. You should also brainstorm and implement preventive measures to mitigate the risk of similar issues arising in the future.

–       Protect Your Employees Against Retaliation

If you want employees to come forward and report harassment, then they need to know they can do so without retaliation. Communicate the organization’s non-retaliation policy about individuals who report harassment or participate in investigations to all employees. And should there be any cases of retaliation, thoroughly and promptly investigate the situation. Anyone who is found to have engaged in retaliatory actions should be held accountable.

When employees aren’t protected from retaliation, they may hesitate to come forward, allowing the harassment to persist or escalate. Witnesses may also be afraid to step forward, limiting the information available to address the problem. Overall, the workplace becomes a toxic environment where inappropriate behavior goes unchecked.

–       Schedule Private Check-Ins

Regular private check-ins are an effective strategy to combat harassment in the workplace. By providing regular personal check-ins, you are demonstrating a commitment to prioritizing your employees’ well-being and building trust between employees and management.

Private conversations provide employees with an excellent opportunity to share concerns or experiences of harassment. As a result, harassment can be detected early and dealt with accordingly.

Check-ins can do more than detect concerns or harassment, as they can help you gain valuable insights into team dynamics. You also contribute to employee empowerment by giving them a platform to voice concerns.

Final Thoughts

Both employers and employees have a part to play in creating a safe and respectful workplace. However, leadership commitment is the first step, followed by a robust approach that includes protection against retaliation, a comprehensive complaint resolution process, and regular check-ins.

If you want to thrive in today’s business marketplace, your employees’ well-being should be at the top of your to-do list.