How #MeToo is Highlighting the Need for Preventive & Holistic Measures

The Employment Law Solution (ELS) advises that companies conduct Gender Intelligence Health Checkups that will ultimately improve the working environment and cut back on sexual assault and harassment claims by adjusting the company’s culture. Hiring outside counsel or a third party is key to prevent claims of internal bias while conducting investigations or company checkups.  In our experience, the average single plaintiff sexual harassment case costs a company $75,000-$125,000 in legal fees if goes all the way through trial.

The #MeToo movement, originally started by Tarana Burke, gained international attention in October of 2017 following the sexual assault and harassment allegations against producer Harry Weinstein. The hashtag’s purpose was to give people a sense of the magnitude of the issue of sexual harassment and assault as well as establish solidarity amongst victims. Over the past few months the #MeToo movement has grown from conversations about sexual harassment and assault to people taking action to stop it.

Many companies have decided to take important preventative steps to avoid such claims by reviewing employee complaints, making changes to workplace policies, ensuring that the new policies are being enforced, and looking at old settlement agreements to ensure they were handled properly. The benefits of these actions as well as removing those who violate others in the workplace are helpful and important, but these steps merely put a Band-Aid on an issue that requires more attention. The root of sexual assault and harassment allegations is the mindset of employers and employees that have normalized such behaviors as acceptable until the issue gets out of hand.

Chandra Davis, partner at ELS, is a former EEOC Trial Attorney and has extensive experience with conducting sexual harassment trainings and investigations of sexual harassment claims. Many times, issues that she was presented with were cases where if an accuser with a frivolous charge or the accused who may have violated a policy had known better they would have done better.

Gender Intelligence Health Checkups include: anonymously surveying employees, review of sexual harassment and gender policies, focus groups, advice on how to improve the company’s culture and environment for both women and men, and how to prevent claims of sexual harassment.

By engaging experienced lawyers like the ELS team now to do a Gender Intelligence Health Checkup you will be protecting your company’s employees, reputation, saving the company tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs, setting the standard for the company culture, and training your workforce at the same time.

 

– Written by Victoria Smith