Think about this. A company that promises a “harassment-free workplace" is like a restaurant that promises you won't get food poisoning. Promising a harassment-free workplace essentially says, “we promise we won’t break the law, but we guarantee nothing else.”Corporations have to do better. The #MeToo movement demands that companies do more than just not violate the law and dodge litigation. But if it's not compliance, what should companies focus on to really make a difference?
It’s pretty clear that the way most companies handle sexual harassment issues isn’t working. Victims feel they can’t report incidents for fear of retaliation, HR feels obligated to protect the company, bystanders get cynical as issues persist, and business executives state they have zero tolerance for harassment but make big exceptions for “high value” talent. Legal teams use settlements and NDAs to sweep the biggest issues under the rug. The story plays over and over again.
Imagine a scene where a group of colleagues are having a brainstorming meeting. At first, everything is on-topic and productive. Then a manager says something inappropriate: maybe it’s a sexual comment or a joke based on a stereotype; maybe it’s a mocking observation about an employee’s value to the team. About half the people burst out in laughter. A few people shift in their seats. Two colleagues glance at each other. Some people are clearly uncomfortable but they let the comment go by so they can get back to work. This incident passes by, but over time, little comments like these add up and demotivate and demoralize members of the team.
A new day, a new sexual harassment scandal in the news. It’s clear we are in a watershed moment for the acknowledgement of illegal behavior and real consequences for those who conduct it.
Everyone should be aware, alert and alarmed.
Just last week, Emtrain’s Cybersecurity expert David Brezinski published a blog post about the dangers of cyber-criminals and data breaches. Calling on his extensive experience in information security, David goes so far as to warn us “that it’s not a matter of if, but when,” in regards to harmful cybersecurity breaches.