Doing the Right Thing
It’s no secret if you’ve read some of my blog posts before that I’m a big Star Wars fan. Last year had promised to be another strong year for the continuing series, but that didn’t entirely turn out to be the case. The fact that I’m using Star Wars as a lead-in to an article about discrimination and harassment issues in the workplace should give you some indication.
Long story short, fan reaction in 2018 to one of the new Star Wars characters caused a real-life person, actor Kelly Marie Tran, to quit social media after being a victim of online bullying. She wasn’t the only one to bear the brunt of harassment. Three of the last four Star Wars movies have had strong female lead characters, and the hostile reaction to these women in this fictional universe has been eye-opening.
Now, it would be one thing if we were just critiquing movies. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, including passionate fans. But the gender harassment issue is also real and ever present in the workforce today. And unlike the movies, it doesn’t just go away when the credits roll. Indeed, the entertainment industry has served as a focal point of the #MeToo movement. A movement which is now resulting in very real legal and regulatory action.
- For FY 2018, the EEOC handled over 554,000 calls and emails and processed over 200,000 workplace discrimination claims. Legal action results in securing $505 million for victims of all forms of discrimination.
- Specific to sexual harassment, the EEOC filed 41 lawsuits, a more than 50% increase over FY 2017, and recovered nearly $70 million for victims of workplace sexual harassment.
- Three states – California, New York and Oregon – have recently instituted requirements for sexual harassment training for staffing employers.
Consider too the 2018 mid-term election which resulted in a large freshman class of congressional representatives, including the largest contingent of women ever. This group of representatives were candidates throughout the rise of the #MeToo movement, and it seems incredibly likely that more federal action on workplace harassment and discrimination is in the works.
If you want to learn more about how to identify and combat this workplace trend, Assurance can help. Our Compliance team has sexual harassment and non-discrimination on-site training available for you and your workforce. This training meets state-based requirements (as applicable). We can also help educate you and your staff on some of the more subtle forms workplace harassment can assume and give you strategies to effectively combat it.
Workplace harassment and discrimination of any kind in today’s world is simply unacceptable. It’s also rampant. The business risk, not to mention the moral risk, is too high to not act. If you don’t have a focus on eliminating it in your workplace, it’s simply a matter of time before the consequences will spin out of control. Act now, comply with the law and do the right thing.
If you’re interested in on-site sexual harassment and non-discrimination training, contact your Assurance representative for more information.
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- Employment Discrimination and Staying Compliant with the EEOC
- Liability E-Book
- Employment Discrimination for Construction Companies
- Do I Really Need EPLI?
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