On May 18, 2018, LA Times columnist David Lazarus interviewed HSR partner Barbara Hadsell concerning her thoughts on Uber's and Lyft's new "#MeToo" policies. The policies purportedly will allow customers who have been victims of sexual assault or harassment to pursue legal claims in court rather than being limited to forced arbitration requirements. The two companies also stated they will remove a confidentiality clause, allowing victims to open up publicly about assault and harassment by the companies' drivers.
Over the past few months, sexual harassment in the workplace has become a national conversation. Each week another high profile member of the media or a celebrity is accused of inappropriate behavior. This reality, combined with the traditions of the holiday season (i.e. holiday parties), employees may be especially vulnerable to the trappings of frivolity that used to go unpunished.
In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, discrimination against female employees, particularly those in subservient roles, has become a national conversation. While it remains to be seen whether the conversation will lead to wholesale change, one thing is for certain. Sexual harassment is prevalent in a number of fields that some may have believed were immune to inappropriate behavior.
In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the reactions and revelations from numerous Hollywood actresses has sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace. Buoyed by the “#MeToo” social media campaign, women from many backgrounds and industries shared their experiences about unwelcome advances. In all, more than 15 million social media posts were made over the past few days furthering the campaign.
In a prior post, we wrote about whether sexual harassment in the workplace was becoming the “new normal.” Essentially, we questioned whether the harassment of women will continue as long as men do not believe they will get caught, and victims believe that their careers will be compromised if they speak out against such abuse.
Just like there’s a thin line between love and hate (like the old Persuaders song suggests), there is also a thin line between harassment and disrespect. For the uninitiated, disrespect can come in many forms, such as malicious gossip, the silent treatment or raising one’s voice, as well as profane language.
When we go to work, there are a number of concerns that can bring about stress. It could be a high-pressure environment, difficult personalities to manage, lofty expectations or financial problems. None of them should be the specter of sexual harassment.
In our last post, we asked the question of whether employees dealing with sexual harassment on a regular basis is the new normal. The question arose in the midst of the latest payout by Fox News to remove someone reportedly accused of harassing female employees. Indeed, the Bill O’Reilly situation is outside of the norm (with regards to payouts for problem employees). But we are concerned because there are potentially thousands of young women who are afraid to speak out against discrimination because they fear losing their jobs.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is sadly becoming the new normal. While this may be shocking to some and offending to others, it is unfortunately a statement that has strong statistical roots. On the heels of the recent story regarding Fox News’ payments to settle alleged sexual harassment claims against Bill O’Reilly, we have noticed a disturbing trend of high profile sexual harassment incidents.
With Valentine's Day passing last week, it is appropriate to talk about office romances. After all, Valentine's Day may be the beginning of relationships that may spawn from spending so many hours in the office together.