The #MeToo Movement has empowered woman and minorities to break the silence and speak their truths about sexual harassment in the workplace. Social media has increased awareness of abuse of power and coercion in the workplace. Employers are wise to proactively stand up and do the right thing.
But, alas, what is the right thing to do?
The sexual harassment laws have been around for thirty years. These laws exist to protect individuals in the workplace who experience unwelcome sexual advances for sexual favors and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct must be endured as a condition of employment (quid pro quo) or conduct that is severe and pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable victim would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive.
Whether or not the behavior rises to the level of being unlawful is determined on a case-by-case basis depending upon the facts. And, as we have seen reported in the media, with “he said/she said” scenarios, the facts are often determined based on the credibility of the alleged harasser and target of the harassment.
As a senior human resources consultant, I have assisted many employers develop and implement programs to comply with the harassment, discrimination and retaliation laws and create respectful workplaces. When the #MeToo Movement began, I was stunned by the fact that so many women had not reported these egregious acts. Where were their HR Departments? What were their companies thinking? How could this happen?
Lucky for me, I was asked to be on a panel of experts to discuss Sexual Harassment in the Workplace at a local Business and Professional Women (BPW) meeting. This gave me the excuse to do a little more research. My efforts were well rewarded as I was able to create a list of powerful resources to help employers stand up for respectful workplaces. I share these with you below, as well as links to the resource. Simply click on the title. I encourage employers to view this data, read the recommendations and take action now.
Employer Resources to Stand Up for Respectful Workplaces.
This Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) report gives statistics on the prevalence of harassment in the workplace, identifies why employees don’t report harassment, describes the business case for stopping and preventing harassment, identifies 12 risk factors where harassment is more likely to occur, makes specific recommendations and provides checklists for employers. This was a very insightful report and well worth the read.
This DFEH report provides data on complaints filed on protected basis, demographics of who complained; counties with most complaints, civil court cases and resolution and actions taken by DFEH in last year. Largest number of complaints filed for retaliation, followed by disability and then sex, including sexual harassment and gender harassment. Key accomplishments include 1) increased education and outreach relating to combating hate violence; 2) establishing a Sexual Harassment Prevention Task Force; 3) providing guidance and resources to employers for transgender employees; and 4) introducing Proposed Regulations regarding consideration of criminal history in employment decisions, transgender identity and expression, and the first regulations ever to interpret California’s fair housing laws.
This insightful guide is a wake-up call. It identifies the total impact of employee charges and litigation and exposes the states where employee discrimination/harassment/retaliation litigation is most prevalent. Can you guess which ones? District of Columbia (81%), Delaware and Nevada (55%), New Mexico (50%) and California (46%).
This chart lists the 12 factors identified by EEOC harassment complaints, explains why it is a factor and describes specific strategies to reduce harassment. Very insight information.
STOPit- Anonymous Report and Incident Management Software (including Harassment)
STOPit is a powerful, anonymous messaging platform that allows employees to anonymously report harassment, intimidation and bullying and safety issues, facilitates employee engagement, automates current processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations, and follows up directly with employees anonymously to gather more information, while ensuring secure evidence collection and compliance.
Blendoor is hiring technology that reduces unconscious bias by hiding data that’s not relevant and highlighting data that is.
Textio is the augmented writing platform for creating highly effective job listings. By analyzing the hiring outcomes of more than 10 million job posts a month, Textio predicts the performance of your listing and gives you real-time guidance on how to improve it. On average, hiring teams with a high Textio Score recruit 25% more people qualified enough to interview and 23% more women—and they do it 17% faster.
This firm helps companies be more inclusive and create a work culture that works for everyone. They offer an independent, confidential platform to address issues of bias, discrimination and harassment in the workplace. They serve as a resource to employees for issues ranging from subtle to severe and we provide data and insights to companies to systemically improve workplace culture.
Sexual Harassment Prevention: #MeToo for Employers
Guest Blogger- Janice Knight, Certified Senior Human Resource Manager (SHRM-SCP, SPHR)
Please contact the Law Firm of Chuck Farrar if you have any questions about this blog or need further assistance.