Employers Can Take Proactive Steps to Prevent #MeToo and Sexual Harassment Complaints

Some truths about sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • You can’t stop sexual harassment complaints. Harassment is based on individual perception, and the decision to file a complaint is made by the employee.
  • The law is made case-by-case. We do not have a national civility code — as national news continues to underscore — and regulations provide examples, not answers.

An ongoing EEOC task force on workplace harassment says company leadership must take “a visible role in stating the importance of having a diverse and inclusive workplace that is free of harassment.” In public discussions of task force findings, an expert panel recommended a holistic approach to revamping workplace culture in order to prevent harassment. In her presentation, “Handling #MeToo and Sexual Harassment Complaints in the Workplace: Leadership, Culture and Accountability,” Anna Elento-Sneed discusses how employers can be proactive in efforts to prevent harassment, by establishing:

  • Policies and procedures (handbooks, training, investigation protocol)
  • Strong leadership committed to a respectful workplace
  • A workplace culture that no matter its specific characteristics promotes civility and does not tolerate harassment