Emtrain Blog

Making Sense of the #MeToo Movement

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?

How to navigate the #MeToo movement

Please watch my new 2 1/2-minute video #MeToo At Work and find out how the #MeToo movement has changed the narrative while reminding us to focus on what really matters if we're going to drive meaningful changes in the workplace.

This is the first in a series of videos and resources to help HR, in-house counsel, executives and employees navigate their way through the changing workplace.

If you'd like to discuss ways in which your company can navigate the impact of the #MeToo movement, email us info@emtrain.com or call us at1.800.242.6099. We also offer a free, no obligation trial of our sexual harassment prevention training course.

How to Handle Claims of Harassment or Misconduct in a #MeToo World

The #MeToo movement has empowered people to speak up about inappropriate, sexually-charged behavior. But there are still lingering questions: Is it okay for me to handle issues myself? At what point should I escalate it? If I do escalate, what does that look like?

As a company leader, you are likely tasked with answering these questions and might be confused about the right answers. We’re here to help. I’m Patti Perez and I’m the VP of Workplace Strategy at Emtrain. As an attorney and workplace crisis manager, I've spent many years providing expert guidance to help resolve workplace issues.

What should you do if you’ve been exposed to sexually-charged or sexist behavior?

What if you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of being exposed to some level of misconduct at work? Well, if you’re experiencing anything similar to what we’ve heard about with Harvey Weinstein, you need to address it immediately. You can and should make a formal report internally and perhaps consider engaging an external attorney on your own.

But what if the behavior you're being exposed to is less severe, which is much more common in the workplace? Is there a blueprint or set of steps you can follow to address these situations? Is there language that is effective, powerful, and respects the rights and responsibilities of all parties?

Watch my latest video #MeToo If It Happened to Me and download my latest guide
What To Do If You've Been Sexually Harassed in the Workplace and you'll find several practical and doable approaches to handling very sensitive and difficult situations.

How Emtrain can help

Emtrain has developed powerful training courses that go the heart of the harassment problem, organizational culture. If you think that your organization would benefit from training and guidance in the time of the #MeToo movement, register for a no obligation, free course trial of our sexual harassment prevention course.

#MeToo and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace -- What If You Have Been the Offending Party?


With the #MeToo movement still going strong, it’s causing many to ask themselves either “has this happened to me?” or “did I do something like this to someone else?” It’s empowering victims to speak out while at the same time terrifying perpetrators to think about whether something they did in the past may cause them to be accused today. If you find yourself on the wrong side of this equation, know there are ways you can get back on the right side and help cultivate a healthier workplace for all of your coworkers. 

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Let’s start to break this fear wall down: first of all, if you’re generally a fair person and well liked by most people in your company, then you shouldn’t have much to fear. However, if you find yourself frequently acting like a jerk, a bully, playing favorites or pitting people against each other, then people will assume the worst of you and jump at the chance to call you out for misconduct. So if you fall in the latter category, you’ll have to work harder and start changing your behavior to give people a more positive impression of you.

Plain and simple, if you find yourself being accused of sexual misconduct -- APOLOGIZE. This may come as a shock to some of you, but all most people really want is a sincere and honest apology. They want to hear that you’re sorry and that you will never do something like that again (important note, “I’m sorry you feel this way” isn’t an apology). If you can empathize with how the other person feels, this shouldn’t be hard at all. Just imagine if a bully from your past came up to you and gave you a sincere apology, wouldn’t it make you have more compassion for that person? 

Now it’s time to evaluate your management style. Are you giving women a chance to lead? Are you seeking them out to mentor them in their careers? If not, then do something about that. Statistically, women are less represented in leadership the higher you go in a company. A hallmark of most harassment claims – and we’ve seen this over and over during the #MeToo movement – is that there is an imbalance in power. The results of this imbalance manifest themselves in the form of pay inequity, a lack of  women in key leadership positions (and even worse, no pipeline from which to promote women) and in some cases, the presence of sexually harassing behavior.

Empathy and awareness should be listed as key traits on every job description because they are work skills that everyone should have or hope to develop. Look, you can’t change the past, but you can change how you act today and that will change the future for all of us. 

Patti Perez Helps Create New DFEH Workplace Harassment Guide

Some exciting news for Emtrain’s Workplace Harassment Expert and Ogletree Deakins shareholder, Patti Perez. 

Patti has recently been working meticulously with the California Task Force to create an updated version of the DFEH Workplace Harassment Guide for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. This is an information sheet that is most often searched and distributed to employees to fulfill the need for all relevant forms of workplace harassment.

The updated guide includes varying ways on how to prevent harassment, report harassment and at what point disciplinary measures might need to be pursued. Also mentioned are helpful tips on what to include in your harassment training programs and additional steps to make effective training at the top of your list as an employer.

Along with common questions and concerns about workplace harassment cases are proceeding steps for effective remedial situations. It is critical to the health and well-being of your organization to communicate workplace harassment issues and implement a training program that is trusted and compliant.

We continue to work closely with Patti, as an Emtrain Workplace Harassment Expert, to make our harassment training not only compliant but engaging as well. Request a free trial of our Preventing Workplace Harassment course today!

Three Ways to Make Sure Your Online Training Program Hits the Mark

More than ever, company leaders are being asked to step up efforts to prevent harassment and other workplace misconduct. Many leaders in HR, talent, training, diversity and legal departments have wondered whether designing a robust training program will help them with their prevention efforts. This is especially true given recent news stories that say online harassment training hasn’t proven effective. Digging deeper into the data and research on this topic, what is clear is that poorly designed and poorly executed training is ineffective; so the secret is to find training that is actually effective.

What are some of the issues you should look for when deciding whether to provide training? And if you do decide to provide it, how do you decide they type and content for the training? 

Some companies opt for live training, either designed and delivered by an in-house professional or by an outside consultant.  For other companies, it isn’t realistic to train their workforce via live training, so the question then becomes can online harassment training be effective? Can online harassment training programs be designed and delivered in such a way that it not only maximizes learning, but also creates behavior change? The answer to both these questions is yes - but you need to make sure you explore at least three issues before you select an online training provider.

  1. Is the training designed by subject matter experts who combine legal and realistic workplace concepts, along with behavioral science research, innovative training techniques and present it in a compelling and entertaining way?
  2. Legal requirements and social science research makes it clear that interactivity is a key component to effective training. Given that, ask yourself whether the online training solution you’re considering incorporates methods to make online training as interactive as possible.
  3. Does the training solution make use of the most modern engineering platforms so that it allows you to track activity, and use that data to make changes that will improve your workplace?

Make Sure the Training is Designed by Subject Matter Experts

Too many online harassment training solutions have been designed by professionals with no experience in preventing and solving workplace issues. For those of us in the world of HR, D&I, talent management, employee relations, or employment law, we know that ours is a world of nuance and requires a combination of subject matter expertise, compassion, experience with the realities of the workplace, knowledge of legal compliance issues and an expertise in wordsmithing, to name a few.

When you are selecting an online training vendor, you should ask who developed the courses. Are the developers experts in all the areas mentioned above? Have they written and enforced workplace policies? Have they conducted investigations and crafted creative and effective solutions when an investigation uncovers misconduct? Has the person (or people) conducted live training programs? Are they equipped to answer questions from learners?


Interactivity is a Key Component of Effectiveness

When I sat on the California Fair Employment and Housing Council, we were confronted with the challenge of defining interactivity. In the context of live training, any good training session conducted by an experienced and professional presenter, would by definition include interaction - between student and teacher, and among the students themselves. But our challenge was to define how an online training program could achieve this same level of interaction. We developed rules on that that provide mandatory guidance in California, and can serve as best practices even beyond compliance - after all, the purpose of requiring interaction is to increase learning and behavior change. Here are three ways in which we defined interactivity:

  • A “plug-and-play” program doesn’t cut it. The online training solution you choose must include a way for learners to advance through sections, answer questions, view videos in their entirety and generally stay engaged throughout the training program.

  • Because dialogue is critical to meaningful interaction, highly visible question and answer sections allow learners to dive deep into areas they need more clarification on. And remember that the subject matter experts described in the section above must be available to answer these questions and should provide practical guidance - without that, the Q&A is unhelpful.

  • Polling question results, Q&A and other tools should be visible since this increases interaction among learners. As a way of replicating the interaction that occurs at live training sessions, the most sophisticated and effective online training programs have the Q&A in a public place for all learners to view. Learners have reported that having the Q&A visible allows them to get questions they might have (but might be too afraid to ask) answered, makes them feel connected to other learners who might be experiencing similar concerns, and allows them to get practical and actionable advice that they can then use to make immediate improvements in their workplaces.


Make Maximum Use of Data Collected During Training to Make Further Improvements

You should select an online harassment training provider that includes an experienced team of engineers who have designed a program that is useful on the front end and back end. On the front end, is the user experience one that will resonate with a modern audience? Does the material flow well and is there a mechanism to capture engagement on the platform? On the back end, ask whether data is provided to identify trending concerns (are your learners primarily concerned about retaliation in your workplace? With a lack of diversity? With the investigation and resolution mechanisms at your company?). Your ability to identify these potential blind spots will not only put you in the best position to solve problems early, but will also give you a roadmap on topics to focus on (do you need new policies, perhaps a lunch and learn session on a particular topic, to include a new topic at an executive retreat, etc.?).

By looking at these three critical issues, you’ll be on your way to deploying an online training program that will move the needle when it comes to behavior, and that will put you at the to of the list as employer of choice.


Additional resources

There are additional aspects that must be incorporated into an online training program to be truly effective. If you’d like to watch or share a quick video on the topic, watch my new video Online Harassment Training - Effective for #TimesUp? and get tips and recommendations on how to ensure any online training programs you invest in are going to be effective and deliver positive behavioral changes.

If your organization would benefit from guidance and support to create an effective online training program, contact us at info@emtrain.com or call 1-800-242-6099. You can also sign up for a free sexual harassment prevention course trial to see for yourself what effective, impactful training looks like.