Are you moving with the #MeToo Movement?
Origin and History
#MeToo Movement is a widely used term and hashtag as of late. The Me Too concept was actually founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke and was intended to help survivors of sexual violence find pathways to healing.
Fast forward to 2017, Actress Alyssa Milano (in response to the highly publicized Harvey Weinstein scandal) tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write #MeToo as a reply to this tweet.”
That tweet went viral! Within 1 month, #MeToo was retweeted 23 million times from 85 countries. That is staggering! The #MeToo Movement did what no law had been able to. It changed how we respond to women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and lead to the implementation of laws/policies to help support the process.
So, do your policies and handbooks reflect this? Have your employees and managers been trained to identify and/or navigate the process as an individual or business? You cannot afford to be behind on this!
#MeToo Movement Makes an Impact
“Companies need to leverage the #MeToo movement to stop harassment, being sure to issue a ‘proportionate and timely response’ when confronted with an accusation”, says Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Commissioner Chai Feldblum. Feldblum makes three overarching recommendations to employers while speaking at a conference:
- Change workplace culture.
- Hold people accountable.
- Have the right policies, procedures and training.
The EEOC has focused on #MeToo issues with more intensity than ever before. Of the 2018 sex-discrimination filings, 41 included claims of sexual harassment, an increase of nearly 25 percent over claims filed the year before.
The increase in #MeToo claims, not just at the EEOC but by individual plaintiffs, is also on the rise, but not surprising. The issue is not going away, nor should it, because employees will not tolerate now what they never should have had to tolerate before.
The average settlement in a sexual harassment case is more than $1 million. This staggering number does not take into account the internal costs to the company, such as loss of productivity, morale, increasing turnover, and damage to your company’s reputation.
Having a comprehensive anti-harassment and discrimination policy is a critical step toward preventing situations and costs like these while adding more money to your bottom line. However, just having a policy is not enough, training is the key to education for you and your employees. Training shouldn’t seek to change what people think, but instead should focus on their behaviors at work. Ultimately, training on how to create a respectful workplace, dealing with bias that feeds harassment and changing the culture of our workplaces will protect our people and businesses.
For more information on updating your handbook policies or harassment training, please contact Susan@hron-call.com or at 515-401-2233.
A little more about us: Susan Arnold, owner and lead HR Consultant at HR On-Call, LLC. Susan has 20+ years of HR experience and provides a HR presence to business organizations without the overhead expense of a full-time employee. Susan helps business owners improve employer/employee relationships and allows them to focus on their business while resting assured that they are in full compliance with state and federal law. Areas of expertise:
- Reduce Employer Risk and Liability
- Customized Employee Handbooks
- Performance Reviews
- Improve Employee/Employer Relationships
- Background Checks
- Personality Assessments
- Guaranteed EEO Compliance
- Employee Retention
- Recruitment / Hiring
- Employee Discipline/Discharge
Susan is passionate about her customers and listens to their needs. If you are interested in any of the details above or would like more information about her services, please contact Susan! If you have questions on how your specific policy should read or need help navigating a certain instance, contact HR On-Call, LLC.