It’s hard to remember a time when our daily news feed wasn’t dominated by reports of sexual transgressions, with one camp taking square aim at another. It seems like every day since Harvey Weinstein’s story broke more than a year ago dawns with a fresh tangle of sexual misconduct to be unravelled.
No wonder so many professionals are suffering minefield paralysis in their efforts to navigate the implicit system of power that characterizes the modern workplace.
With that in mind, Atlantic Canada law firm Stewart McKelvey has put together a list of lessons Canadians can learn from the #MeToo movement.
Here’s a synopsis of their highlights:
- Don’t underestimate sexual harassment. A C-Suite Survey by the Gandalf Group found that 94% of Canadian executives believe that sexual harassment isn’t a problem at their company. This while StatsCan reports that 30% of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment and a February 2018 Angus Reid poll says 80% of women have taken action to prevent or avoid it. Acknowledging this disconnect has to start at the top.
- Corporate policies that touch on personal conduct are important. Companies need to review and update them regularly.
- So are processes. Corporations have to ensure that investigations and dispute-resolution efforts are carefully undertaken. Neither victim blaming nor auto-guilty verdicts should be tolerated. Due process takes time.
- Remember the importance of culturein a company, and see to it that yours isn’t one of silence. Clear paths for reporting, communicating and ensuring accountability.
- Consider mentoring, and the impact #MeToo has had on the staff. Not surprisingly, male managers are increasingly uncomfortable participating in mentoring relationships with women. Being mindful of these hitches can help address them.
- Understand bystander apathy. By including bystander intervention in its policy, an organization can reduce the phenomenon of its folks failing to report on bad behaviour.
- Push consent. Just like sex-ed curricula, corporate culture needs to concern itself with—and provide training on—consent.
Time Magazine named “the Silence Breakers” the 2017 person of the year. Harvey Weinstein now has 93 accusers.Clearly, the battle rages on. Workplaces ignore it at their peril.