[Checklist] Avoid A Sexual Harassment Scandal



In light of the #MeToo movement, many companies have increased their legal compliance and risk-assessment work in the area of workplace sexual harassment. That’s a good start, but it’s just that—a start.

Companies who have delved more deeply into the issue understand that they can’t solve the problem with a simple check-the-box compliance mentality. Indeed, the vast majority of companies who ended up being on the receiving end of negative #MeToo storylines had policies that checked all the legal boxes, most had compliance training programs that addressed issues related to unlawful sexual harassment, and most had established protocols on how to deal with the investigation and resolution of employee complaints.

And yet, these systems failed to “protect” them from legal claims alleging that employees had been exposed to rampant and sometimes horrific examples of harassing conduct. Perhaps worse, these systems failed to protect them from being embroiled in scandals – public relations nightmares that in many instances had a drastic and swift negative effect on brand value.

Why? How did companies, many who thought they were doing the right thing by complying with the law and running risk assessments, so utterly fail?

The main reason is that they were focused on the wrong thing. In fact, they were hyper-focused on the wrong thing. If nothing else, the #MeToo movement has triggered a re-evaluation by corporate America in terms of what moves the needle in terms of behavior and employee engagement. The modern workplace realizes that it’s not about compliance, but instead, it’s about culture.

To provide guidance on how to move from compliance to culture—and on how to avoid a scandal—Patti Perez, Emtrain’s VP of Workplace Strategy and co-author of California’s AB 1825 training regulation, has created this simple five-step checklist to create a healthy and inclusive workplace culture—one that focuses on behavior change and enhancing the employee experience, rather than focusing solely on the law.

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