Recap – Client HR Seminar: The Next Frontier in Workplace Harassment Prevention: #MeToo and Beyond

Recap – Client HR Seminar: The Next Frontier in Workplace Harassment Prevention: #MeToo and Beyond

On Wednesday, November 14, 2018, Kistler Tiffany Benefits hosted Jason Reisman, Labor and Employment Law Partner from Blank Rome LLC, for a client seminar titled “The Next Frontier in Workplace Harassment Prevention: #MeToo and Beyond.”  Launched more than 10 years ago by social activist Tarana Burke, the movement really gained power last October with a tweet by actress Alyssa Milano, which was subsequently retweeted more than 17,000 times and used by more than 4.7 million people in 12 million posts on the social media platform Facebook. Because of the high profile nature of the #MeToo movement, employers and employees are more sensitive about what goes on in the workplace. Since last year, EEOC and harassment lawsuits have been on the rise.  There was a 13.6% increase in charges in 2018 and 50% increase in EEOC lawsuits. The EEOC collected $70M ($23M more so far in 2018) for employees alleging sexual harassment over 2017 (up from $47M).  Some states are now requiring harassment training , including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and New York.

One key to preventing harassment claims in the workplace is to ensure that your company’s sexual (and other) harassment policies are up-to-date and that you have a complaint/reporting process or procedure in place. Encourage and provide multiple outlets for reporting any conduct which violates your policy. Ensure that your policy is disseminated and document acknowledgement of the company policy. Make sure to effectively train all employees, including management, and document training attendance.

Education will help your employees understand the behaviors that are and are not acceptable in the workplace. If you have operations in any of the states now requiring harassment training, be sure to check the training requirements to stay in compliance.