What should you do if you are faced with sexism or sexual harassment as a manager?

React

You need to react swiftly to sexism or harassment in the workplace or study environment.

 

To do so:

  • Intervene to put an end to sexist language;
  • Take the issue seriously - if someone who is a victim of sexism or sexual harassment comes to talk to you, listen actively, attentively and respectfully;
  • Talk privately to the person who has used sexist language to explain that his or her behaviour is unwelcome and not acceptable at UNIL ;
  • If necessary, seek advice and support as quickly as possible from your line manager, and/or the bodies with responsibilities in this area;
  • If the behaviour is repeated, alert the Human Resources Department which will support you in managing difficult situations;
  • Warn your employee or student that you are obliged to report situations that could be classed as harassment to the Rectorate. Tell them which people and bodies might be able to offer them support;
  • Ask factual questions, record the information and ask the person concerned to check it is correct;
  • Tell the person who has complained to you what is being done to follow up their case.

Do not trivialise the situation: remember that it is how the victim feels that matters, not the intention of the alleged perpetrator.

 

Maintain a strictly neutral stance and respect the principle of presumption of innocence: the alleged perpetrator has the right to be heard, so don’t take sides.

Rights and duties

Managers are obliged to report any cases of harassment brought to their attention.

 

In addition, people with a management role at UNIL must:

  • Behave appropriately with your students, staff and peers;
  • Act immediately to stop any inappropriate behaviour in a work or study relationship;
  • Ensure that your students, staff and peers behave appropriately with each other;
  • Inform your students and staff of the preventive measures and intervention procedures put in place by UNIL to tackle sexism and sexual harassment;
  • Ask the bodies designated by the Rectorate to offer assistance to any member of the community who seeks help;
  • Protect those involved in complaints and investigations;
  • In the case of cyber-bullying, report inappropriate messages exchanged on a social network between members of the university community to their line manager.
Do you have doubts about your own behaviour?

Has someone challenged you for not respecting their personal boundaries and/or are you unsure if your behaviour was appropriate?

 

Sexism and harassment have serious consequences for all the parties involved. Talk about it with people you trust or the person involved directly and/or contact the support bodies that specialise in this area. If necessary, take active steps to modify your behaviour.

Preventing and stopping sexism and sexual harassment, that’s my job !