Female Professionals in Health Care – Sexual Harassment Woes Continue

Hot on the heels of the release of the program to eliminate sexual harassment issued by the Ontario government at the start of March is a report from Australia. The report claims that female healthcare professionals at a Melbourne hospital were intimidated to stay quiet about workplace sexual harassment by top medical staff.

The report (from the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper) spoke of female doctors talking about their experiences from inappropriate jokes, to sexual advances from senior staff that could make or break their careers. Some of these female professionals stated that they would not trust the complaint mechanisms in place at hospitals and colleges where there is an established culture of “untouchables.”

This once again highlights the real need for every employer to take a good look in their organizational mirror and honestly ask themselves how they are doing when it comes to ensuring that their workplace is not only compliant, but exemplifies what it means to symbolize a respectful workplace.

It would also appear from the report that a lot of people have been aware of what has been going on within the healthcare field and had come to almost accept things the way they were, as they didn’t want to cause problems for their careers.

In October of 2013, I wrote about how important effective leadership is in organizations wanting to be known for their culture of respect.

The blog post highlighted a You Tube video which had been released on June 12th, 2013. It featured Lieutenant General David Morrison, the most senior army official in Australia. In the video he spoke to the 50,000 collective members of the Australian Army about his disgust at learning that several members of the Australian Army had created and distributed explicit and degrading emails focused on demeaning individual women within the Army.

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept” he states in the 3 minute video.

It sounds like it is time for the leadership in the world of Australian healthcare could do with listening to such wisdom right about now.

What Steps Are Necessary for a Respectful Workplace – WORLDWIDE?

The steps you need to take on the road to a healthy and respectful workplace are universally clear: They are all #1

  1. Actively endorse the company’s Respectful Workplace Policy
  1. Make it clear that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace
  1. Ensure that complaints of bullying and harassment are taken seriously and properly investigated
  1. Provide clear statements that management is committed to a bully and harassment- free working environment
  1. Ensure that management models positive behaviours of respect and courtesy
  1. Promote your organizational and relevant industry code-of-conduct standards
  1. Ensure that all employees and supervisors are trained and that the issue remains top-of-mind in the organization

And just like when you finish painting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco…when you get to the end, it means that it is time to go back to the beginning and start all over again!

Be safe in 2015.