When you think of document translation, harassment is probably the last thing that comes to mind but in this day and age, it’s a delicate area that needs to be addressed not just for English speaking employees, but everyone. Thinking internationally, it’s also essential to make sure offices beyond the U.S. borders are dealt with properly. It’s rather common for us at TSI to translate anti-harassment human resources documentation for clients across the globe.
As of late the national news has been focusing on the issues of sexual harassment. However in the broad scope of employee relationships, anti-harassment covers a wide range of behaviors including all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive. The task at hand for companies at home in the USA, as well as abroad is to prohibit any actions, words, jokes, or comments based on a person's sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or any legally protected characteristic. The latter includes gender reassignment, belief, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.
Specific examples of harassment include:
The list above accounts for the majority of harassment issues in the USA, however what may be acceptable in this country may well be totally out-of-bounds elsewhere. It’s important for U.S. based companies to check with the proper authorities where they have offices abroad in order to tailor their anti-harassment policies to include behaviors that are not permitted in the host country. When a conflict occurs in this area the response “We didn’t know” is not an acceptable or appropriate answer. Improper handling of sexual harassment accusations can lead to costly legal battles and sometimes public relations nightmares.
We have experience translating manuals and documentation dealing directly with human resources training for employees, and employee manuals relating to anti-harassment guidelines. If your company has non-english speaking employees or international offices, feel free to contact us for a quote. Handling this now can avoid costly mistakes down the road.
Francis Semmens is the founder of TSI and author of all blog posts with a focus on translation for clients and translators alike.