Employers that offer internships/externships are providing opportunities for students to contribute their talents to the workforce. Students want to feel their work is welcomed, and the work they do is important. When harassment and discrimination occur in the workplace it costs employers one of their greatest assets, its human capital. Sexual harassment at work is a form of unlawful sex discrimination. Employers have a responsibility to protect employees, including interns, from harassment and should take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct harassment should it occur on the job. These best practices can create an environment that is beneficial for both the student and the employer.
- Regardless if one student or a group of students will be joining your workplace it is important to welcome them with a strong orientation. This is an opportunity to set the tone of the workplace, not only for the student(s) but as a reminder for employees that students are to be treated with respect.
- Discuss with the student their goals and expectations for the internship. This will help ensure productivity and success for both the student and the employer.
- Discuss the workplace policies for sexual harassment and discrimination. Inform the student of the procedure for reporting incidents, and that the workplace takes a report of sexual harassment and discrimination seriously.
Trauma Informed Workplaces:
- Creating a trauma-informed work environment can have far-reaching effects in human resource management. This means promoting an environment where staff and students feel respected and valued. Be transparent about workplace values. Promote diversity and equity initiatives.
- Hold all employees to a high ethical standard. Ensure that all employees understand that students are there to learn, contribute, and be respected.
- Create opportunities for students to provide feedback about their experience. Organizational change is an on-going process, and students can contribute essential information about workplace culture.