Over the course of the last year, accusations surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace have taken the spotlight. High profile celebrities, politicians, and news anchors all across the country have taken the forefront by being accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. This has resulted in an onslaught of people to come forward and begin removing the stigma of sexual harassment in the workplace. It seems the country may be ready for change, which leaves many wondering how policies will change in the wake of the “Me Too” movement.
The “Me Too” movement gives people a voice in speaking up against sexual harassment and abuse. The movement empowered victims to come forward and speak out against those who had harassed them. The impact of the movement was the downfall of a number of well-known, powerful individuals and a call to action. As a result of the “Me Too” movement, it’s vital that companies take the time to ensure that they have the appropriate policies in place to educate staff and mitigate harassment in the workplace.
Prevention and Change Within the Workplace
As women have come forward and called for change, one question remains: Will the workplace really change? As women are beginning to speak out and advocate for themselves, companies are beginning to take a look at the policies they have in place. For a number of years women have been quieted through financial settlements made behind the scenes, this has resulted in a lack of awareness in regards to the frequency of which women are faced with harassment. Companies under scrutiny for claims of sexual harassment put themselves at risk for a serious impact on their reputation. It is key for companies to update practices and culture surrounding the workplace to shift the good ‘ol boys mentality that has been so commonplace until recently.
Awareness and Education Is Key
Although the majority of companies have sexual harassment policies in place, many fail to recognize or follow them until someone speaks out. It’s all too common for those who have experienced harassment in the workplace to ignore the problem for fear of retaliation if they come forward. Companies may be able to prevent or mitigate sexual harassment by cultivating a workplace that does not have tolerance for this type of behavior. A quick, unified response is key in supporting victims of sexual harassment. The following are important ways to support a safe and fair work environment for all employees following “Me Too:”
- Ensure that the company has clear policies in place regarding sexual harassment and the steps the company will take when allegations surface.
- Provide employees with regular sexual harassment trainings.
- Train leadership to be able to effectively respond to sexual harassment allegations.
- Have a clear strategy or plan in place in the event that a situation of sexual harassment garners media attention.
When an employer is proactive in working on their culture and treatment of all employees by instilling policies, they have the opportunity to mitigate the likelihood of sexual harassment allegations.
As more people come forward, it will be more important than ever for employers to instill change within the workplace. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, report your concerns to human resources. If your report is met with no response, your next step may require the assistance of an attorney with experience in this area of practice. Contact a lawyer, like a discrimination litigation lawyer in Washington, DC from Eric Siegel Law, to set up a consultation today.