Sexual Harassment: Self-Awareness is Key, but Only Half the Battle
Every morning a new celebrity name scrolls across the bottom of the television screen or appears in your twitter feed; and every morning the headline is the same: “XXX celebrity has been accused of sexually harassing co-workers and has been terminated from his employment.” Suddenly sex sells again, and sexual harassment has finally been put to the forefront of national media attention as the serious problem that it is.
As the number of allegations in Hollywood and Washington D.C. mount, we find lay pundits questioning why this is happening at such a high rate and constantly hammering the perpetrators in op-ed articles and television talk pieces. It is almost as if they do not realize that harassment and discrimination allegations are the #1 source of corporate litigation in America, and have been for a great many years. So now that celebrities are being accused we are self-aware. But what about the millions of women (and men) who are working in hostile environments across the country. I’ve still yet to see large-scale reports on EEOC statistics or attempts at increased awareness for “regular” employees (who make up the bulk of victims of sexual harassment in U.S. workplaces).
There is no doubt that awareness of this significant problem is a good thing. But perhaps more important than awareness is finding actual solutions to the problem. For years, men have been in positions of power in corporate America, which created the foundation for incidents of “quid pro quo” (“this for that”) incidents of sexual harassment. Likewise, for the better part of sexual harassment laws’ existence men have dominated the workforce overall, leading to an imbalance ripe for hostile working environments that have provided us with the potential for classic examples of catcalls toward the one woman working in the mill. But the workforce is changing, so why haven’t corporate cultures?
Check out Syntrio’s Anti-Harassment Training
For the past ten years I have been working closely with companies of all sizes to prevent them from incidents of workplace misconduct that can lead to costly lawsuits. Having gotten to know different types of cultures within different industries, the overwhelming common theme that prevents companies from making true cultural change is a resistance to admitting that there is a problem for fear of upsetting the proverbial apple cart.
Until we have the opportunity to provide statistical and monetary analysis to high-level executives showing the actual costs of harassment they are always resistant to digging in and making true efforts to change their culture. But this is always the wrong approach, as a single incident of sexual harassment in the workplace can easily cost the company millions of dollars in verdict and/or settlement and opposing party attorneys fees.
I would be lying to you if I told you that I never had a client sued for sexual harassment. However, we have developed a proven method for reducing incidents of harassment in the workplace, and therefore can unequivocally say that those companies that have worked with us have demonstrable success in largely preventing these types of lawsuits across the board. With that in mind, Syntrio strongly urges you and your representatives to join us in a series of three webinars in 2018 providing the overview of a plan for changing your culture in the hopes that you will work with us to eliminate harassment in the workplace. The first such webinar will take place on January 23, 2018, and you can register for it by CLICKING HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW.
Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance), and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of conflicts of interest within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.
Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.
Written by, Jon Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio