Sexual harassment is a prevalent issue in industries, where a large number of low-paid, primarily female workers are employed in challenging conditions for extended periods of time. Often, victims of these incidents go unacknowledged or unsupported, leaving them to feel exposed and without recourse.
When ASOS became aware of an instance of sexual harassment at one of their supplier factories, they not only addressed the specific case swiftly, but also took a preventative approach by engaging with the supplier to create a workplace that was more aware of the risks of sexual harassment and better equipped to prevent and address any future instances.
To this end, The Centre for Child Rights and Business (The Centre) was asked to conduct a two-day workshop on Harassment Awareness and Prevention (HAP) for factory management and frontline workers at a Chinese factory. The training began by educating participants on the detrimental effects of workplace harassment on victims, the potential harm to the business, and the legal policies on workplace harassment. It then covered the basic concepts of sexual harassment in the workplace and the different types of workplace harassment, before discussing the practical steps and changes the factory needed to take a stronger preventative approach to sexual harassment.
The workshop was highly appreciated by the participants, and since then, the factory has made significant strides in addressing workplace harassment. They have implemented a zero-tolerance policy, provided notice to candidates on the anti-harassment policy, increased protection in the complaints procedure for employees, clients, and third parties, and established an anti-harassment zero tolerance policy advocacy board. They have also established an anti-harassment zero tolerance policy advocacy board and integrated anti-harassment policy into staff handbooks, while providing guidance for new staff onboarding. Additionally, the factory is continuing to plan for anti-harassment training twice a year, demonstrating their commitment to preventing future incidents of workplace harassment. While these changes are commendable, changing workplace culture is not something that can be done overnight, a through a few workshops. Ongoing efforts are necessary to ensure the effective implementation of anti-harassment policies and to create a safe and respectful workplace for all employees.
The Centre offers sexual harassment prevention training as part of our WeCare Plus programme, which expands on our regular WeCare programme to provide direct support for women workers and help factories implement strong maternity protection programs, along with additional training on strengthening awareness on prevention of SAH in the workplace.
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