Every worker in a manufacturing plant must be aware of how to prevent potentially hazardous circumstances. In the event that they feel the need to report a harmful practice, they must also be aware of whom they should contact.
But what about inappropriate sexual advances? Are you certain that your teams are able to recognize it when they come across it? Do they comprehend the process of reporting incidents? And maybe most crucially, do they feel safe and secure enough to raise concerns without fear of being punished?
The industrial environment of today is more varied than it has ever been. These are some suggestions to think about if you want to enhance how your organization deals with sexual harassment training, and if you are seeking for ways to do so, you are in the right place.
In many respects, the manufacturing business stands out as one of a kind. Even now, only roughly 25–30 percent of the workforce in manufacturing is female employees, despite the fact that men have historically had a dominant position in the business. Manufacturing also differs from many other businesses in that there is almost no consumer contact in this field, and almost all of the work is done “behind the scenes” and out of the eyes of the general public.
This is another manner in which manufacturing distinguishes itself from many other industries. As a result, it creates a climate in which it is much simpler for employees to engage in misconduct.
The Manufacturing Industry Receives Complaints Regarding Sexual Harassment
According to the findings of a research that was carried out over the course of ten years by Center for American Progress (Center for American Progress), the manufacturing industry also had third highest number of complaints filed with the EEOC over sexual harassment. During the course of their ten-year investigation, the sector was responsible for slightly under 12 percent of the more than 85,000 complaints that were submitted to the agency.
The only two sectors to have received a greater number of complaints were the retail sector and the hospitality sector, which includes the food and housing businesses. This is remarkable when contrasted to the proportion of female employees in these other two areas, and it underlines how serious the issue of sexual harassment is in the manufacturing industry.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the widespread nature of sexual harassment in the manufacturing business, including the following:
As was said previously, the majority of the production process takes place behind closed doors. Workers in an assembly line are often given different areas to work, and they carry out the duties allocated to them with relatively little direct supervision. A manager’s primary role is to spend their time behind a desk, only venturing out to address issues on the shop floor when necessary.
Manufacturing is a grueling and stressful work, and throughout the decades, exposing unethical conduct has frequently been considered as “snitching.” As a result, there is a culture of silence in the manufacturing industry. As a manner of “blowing off steam,” or as “this is how things have always been,” workers commonly rationalize their acts. Women who are subjected to this kind of atmosphere sometimes lack the confidence to voice their concerns for fear of being branded as “moody” or “difficult to work with,” which might put their ability to support themselves in peril.
Sensitivity hasn’t been a high emphasis in an industry that has always been controlled by men. As a result, vulgar jokes, salty language, and the like have long been seen as “no big deal” and “simply part of the work” by employees.
As little as 6 to 13% of sexual harassment occurrences go unreported, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For more information on sexual harassment from the EEOC, click here. It is not hard to comprehend the factors that contribute to this being the situation in the industrial sector. A significant number of harassed employees have the impression that their complaints will not result in any action being taken.
Higher-level executives including their human resources staff are often based off-site, and there is a widespread sense that employees’ concerns will not be taken seriously or that no action will be taken to hold those responsible accountable.
It’s never simple to transform a long-standing method of doing things into something new. In light of this, the argument that “things were always this way” is not a valid justification. Under federal law, harassment of any kind in the workplace, including sexual harassment as well as other types of harassment and discrimination, is prohibited, and no worker should be forced to put up with an intimidating or offensive workplace.
Proactive measures, such as creating tougher anti-harassment rules, ensuring that all employees and management are thoroughly informed on these guidelines, implementing more open reporting policy and cultural changes are required by manufacturing organizations to solve this issue.