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Respect at Work

Preventing Workplace Harassment by Creating a Respectful Environment 

The Issue 

In 2016, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace stated some important findings. First, it found that workplace harassment is still a persistent problem, including reports of unlawful harassment on the basis of, among other things, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy), race disability, age, ethnicity/national origin, color, and religion. Second, workplace harassment too often goes unreported, with roughly 3 out of 4 individuals who experienced harassment never even talked to a supervisor, manager, or union representative about the harassing conduct. Ultimately, they found that it’s on us to change workplace culture for the better.  


In Chester County, we have done our own research on sexual harassment in the workplace. In 2019, The Chester County Women’s Commission, partnered with The Chester County Fund for Women and Girls did a county-wide evaluation that became the #ChescoKnows Report . The report found:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 workers experienced sexual harassment from a client, customer, or contractor in their current workplace.

  • Nearly 2 out of 3 people have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment at some point in their career. 

  • 1 in 4 people witnessed or experience sexual harassment in their current workplace. 


What this means is that sexual harassment is pervasive locally and something must be done.  

From Compliance to Prevention 


Another key finding of the EEOC report was that there is a compelling business case for stopping and preventing harassment but training must change. Too often, did workplace harassment trainings focus on legal compliance rather than office culture. A 2016 Guardian article found that these trainings often had the opposite effect on a workplace: these trainings with cartoonish examples of harassment could lead to men dismissing allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. A Slate article responded, pointing out what could be successful: trainings focused on building up positive workplace culture, imparting positive knowledge and behaviors, and bystander intervention skills. We also know that preventing sexual harassment goes a long way to creating a culture that prevents sexual assault.  

The Respect at Work Approach 


The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)(link) began their work on the Respect at Work curriculum in 2014. In response to the 2016 EEOC report, PCAR shifted from a single, online module, into a comprehensive programmatic approach based out of the Rape Crisis Centers (like CVC) throughout Pennsylvania.  


CVC has worked for more that 45 years in Chester County, addressing and preventing sexual violence and harassment. Our educators and advocates spend their days in the community, learning and partnering to serve each communities’ individual needs. This makes us the perfect partner for working with your workplace.  


Respect at Work's core qualities:  

  • Holistic: Goes beyond discussing legal aspects and looks at personal ethics and workplace culture, giving strategies to increase respect among everyone. 

  • Comprehensive: More than just training but an entire assessment and engagement of a workplace in creating and increasing respect and positivity. 

  • Collaborative: creating and fostering an ongoing relationship between local experts at CVC and the business community. 

  • Customized: Allows us to shape this approach to what your workplace needs!

  • Multi-session: Not just "one-and-done" but an ongoing partnership with the community! 

  • Bystander-focused: Engages all employees as bystanders and teaches skills for encouraging respectful behavior in the workplace and taking action to stop disrespectful or harassing behavior. 


This method looks to address all types of workplace harassment, getting buy-in at all levels to make a workplace healthier and safer for all members of an organization. It takes the principle of It’s on Us and makes tangible, real changes in a workplace.  

How it Works 


(All of this is customizable to your workplace!) 

  1. Workplace Climate Assessment 

    • Workplace climate assessments can help employers – and you! – better understand the workplace and its specific needs regarding culture, policies, and supports for employees related to sexual harassment. 

    • Helps determine: 

    1. Environmental Risk Factors 

    2. Employee experiences and perceptions 

  2. A review of Workplace Policies 

    • What is consistent with EEOC recommendations? 

    • What is missing or inconsistent? 

    • How can policies be accessible and applied equitably?  

  3. Trainings for your Workplace 

    1. Online Training 

    2. All Workplace Staff Training 

    3. Supervisor Follow Up Training 

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