The United States Department of Justice highlights a chilling statistic: one out of every four female undergraduates will be victim to some form of sexual assault before graduation. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates that at least 95% of campus rapes in the U.S. go unreported. This statistic reflects a dire need for increased campus prevention and support systems at our nation’s colleges and universities.
September 16, 2019
Topic: News / Buz
Even as the #MeToo movement began brewing in the West in 2017, a group of researchers started worrying about the fallout of the global storm that claimed many big names, starting first with the fashion industry and slowly spreading to other fields. Though the #MeToo movement empowered women to speak out against sexual harassment and jolted awake sleeping sexual harassment cells at the workplace, new research has found that the the effects of #MeToo on women in the workforce may not have been all positive.
Headed by University of Houston professor Leanne Atwater, the study titled “Looking Ahead How What We Know About Sexual Harassment Now Informs Us of the Future”, found that almost 19 percent of the men surveyed did not want to hire “attractive women” for jobs.
Additionally, 21 percent men said they were not keen on hiring women for roles involving close interactions with men. 27 percent male respondents claimed they avoided one-on-one meetings with women, post #MeToo.
The survey was initially kicked off in 2018 when the researchers collected people’s predictions of the fallout of #MeToo. The survey revealed that both men and women had awareness of what constituted sexual harassment. Contrary to the popular belief that some women are more “sensitive”, the survey revealed that men were more likely to deem certain behaviours as sexual harassment than women.
However, latest 2019 findings published in the Harvard Business Review precede the numbers predicted in 2018 when 74 percent women believed women would report or speak up against sexual harassment without hesitation and 77 percent men hoped it would make men more wary of inappropriate behavior on their part.
However, the results of the follow-up study are not promising, especially in terms of gender gap in corporate sector. It could affect women working across industries and affect women’s participation in the workforce as well as the gender pay-gap.
The study concluded that the way forward, at least at an organisational level, was to ensure training of employees not only on what constitutes sexual harassment but also focus on character building and gender equality.
September 15, 2019
by Stephanie Sarkis Contributor
Combat Age Discrimination At Work:For Employees And Employers
Age discrimination impacts employers and business owners alike. If you are an older member of the workforce, you may experience different treatment than when you were in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. You may be asked if you have email (of course you do). You may have coworkers who have spoken more slowly or louder to you than other (younger) employees.
Negative stereotypes about older workers do exist, unfortunately. Older workers may be seen as resistant to change, not as technologically-savvy, more difficult to train, and more expensive. Consider, however, that older employees also have been found to handle responsibility better, feel more fulfilled, and seek intellectual challenges more than their younger coworkers. Older workers also have greater job knowledge and more highly developed skills. They are also seen as being more emotionally stable and conscientious in their work.
Biases abound for older workers. Consider that older workers tend to receive significantly lower ratings than younger workers on job performance. In fact, older employees with younger managers had the lowest performance evaluation ratings. Since older workers have been found to be just as competent, if not more so, than their peers, it has been theorized that older employees are evaluated based on stereotypes or beliefs rather than actual performance.
In the United States, people who are 40 and older are protected from workplace discrimination by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). So problem solved, right? Not so fast. In 2009, the Supreme Court had a ruling that made workplace age discrimination lawsuits harder to win for employees. Before the ruling, the burden was on the employer to prove that an employee’s firing or demotion was not related to age. However, now the burden is fully on the employee to show that their age led to their firing or demotion. Since employers rarely say, “We’re firing you because you’re older,” proving age discrimination has become much more difficult.
So what are you to do when you feel that your coworkers or supervisors are treating you differently because you are older? First, examine whether you may be facing age discrimination, or that Sally is just incredibly rude to everyone in the office. You may be acutely aware that you may be treated differently because of your age. Due to that, you may interpret what would usually be written off as rude or boorish behavior as attributable to age discrimination.
Next, address any issues directly with your coworkers or employers. Frame your responses as “I feel” statements. I feel statements don’t use the word “you.” You state the behavior, how it impacts you, and offer a viable solution. For example, “When I am asked whether I have email, I feel demeaned because I am very adept at technology. I suggest that if there is a concern about my use of technology, that it is brought up only if an issue arises.” When you state a concern from a first-person point of view, less defensive behavior arises. This leads to more efficient creation of solutions.
If you have tried to address the issue directly with the persons involved and it still has not been resolved to your satisfaction, consider reporting it. Know your workplace’s proper procedures for addressing a concern. You also have the option of consulting with a labor attorney.
If you are a supervisor in the workplace or a business owner, consider whether the language you and your staff are using or the questions you are asking may be biased against the age of your interviewees and employees. Consider working with an organizational psychologist to determine existing age bias in your company. An organizational psychologist may use an instrument such as the Workplace Intergenerational Climate Scale to determine employees’ attitudes towards coworkers of different ages.
Stay one step ahead of potential age discrimination in your workplace, as it expresses itself in covert and overt ways. The most common age discrimination occurs in interviewing. Make sure your team that is conducting interviews has been educated about potential bias — both in recognizing it and combating it. Just because the 2009 Supreme Court ruling discussed above favors businesses in age-discrimination lawsuits doesn’t mean your business is impervious. In 2019 Google settled an age discrimination hiring lawsuit for $11 million dollars, shared by over 200 potential employees over the age of 40. Google will also train employees and supervisors about age discrimination, form a committee on age diversity, and follow-through on complaints related to age. Educating your employees and supervisors can help protect you and your interviewees.
In a world where the number of sexual harassment cases that go unreported is alarmingly high, any system that can encourage people to report workplace harassment has got be to good, right?
Yes, and no. Not all solutions are created equal. Processes that are difficult to use, uncomfortable, or unknown aren’t going to help your company improve its culture. And while some solutions may encourage people to report who wouldn’t normally – like how an anonymous hotline may encourage a bystander who fears retaliation to report – they may not be the best solution for your company long term.
As an employee, and company sometimes, an anonymous hotline can seem like the perfect solution. There is no fear of retaliation for reporting – because higher-ups can’t know who filed the report ; there is no fear of getting dragged into a long investigative process; and it can be a lot less difficult than talking face-to-face with a manager or HR team member. For employers, it checks the box of having a reporting tool in place and perhaps keeping them from being liable in a harassment lawsuit.
But, before your company goes all in on anonymous reporting tools as the way of the future, consider what some HR professionals and the research say about these tools. Not all are fans.
“As an HR Professional, anonymous tips from a hotline or a note under my door rarely provide enough information on which to act. Plus, I simply cannot take the word of an anonymous source. I may need to ask follow-up questions. I need to know if there were any witnesses,” said one HR professional and Bevoco co-founder. “I want to know the ‘who, what, when, where and why’ of the story. Granted, there are times when an anonymous tip is helpful, and it can certainly supplement a company’s efforts to be compliant when it comes to embezzlement, fraud, ethics violations, HIPAA, etc., but the very best way to get to the truth is to go to the source and ask questions.”
An article from HR Executive News agrees. While anonymous tools can help, the article argues, they may not really get enough information to do anything about the incident, making it difficult for employers to investigate it further.
“Oftentimes, they may not get enough information to do a proper investigation, which has the potential to let the person continue committing the behavior. While it may be cathartic for the person who endured the sexual harassment, it limits the employer’s ability to remedy the situation.”
And, if the employer can’t do anything to rectify the harassment, then the tool isn’t effective for your workplace. In a New York Times article about workplace harassment at Fox News, they talked with several employees about Fox’s anonymous reporting hotline. One interviewee, Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer representing three women who are suing Fox News and its corporate parent, said whether or not the reporting tool is anonymous doesn’t matter, it’s about what happens after that can encourage employees to report incidents or not.
“Employees tend to come forward when they feel that their company is going to handle their complaints fairly and responsibly, whether or not the hotline is anonymous, Wigdor said. “Where it’s clear based on prior conduct, messaging, how you treat employees when they come forward to make a complaint — that they’re not going to be retaliated against, that it’s taken seriously, I don’t see a need for a hotline.”
Many employees may feel an anonymous hotline can help stop retaliation, however several people from the Times article said that often these hotlines aren’t as anonymous as employees think. From the article: “They are usually run by third-party vendors, who assign a number to a case, and ask for a method to get back to you. Unsophisticated people will provide the company an email and will frequently become the subject of investigation themselves.
“Worse, the veneer of anonymity can perversely make retaliation by the employer easier: Companies can claim they could not possibly have retaliated because they did not know the identity of the tipster, when in fact they did. “If you suffer retaliation, you’re not able to say, ‘The reason I was demoted, sent to Siberia, is because I reported this. The company can say, ‘Hey, it was anonymous, we had no idea.’
“On the other hand, companies often think twice about retaliating against someone who has come forward while using their name because the retaliation is easier to demonstrate.”
Bevoco is a harassment reporting tool that is not anonymous, however, it does give employees control over collecting the right information and getting it in front of the right people.
In the beVoco system, once a folder is unlocked, HR has the initial information provided by the injured party, but HR also has the ability to reach out to be supportive and ask for additional information that may be missing from the original text. This allows employers to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct harassment by allowing victims to safely, securely, and easily store information about harassment incidents and either work directly with the offender to resolve the issue or report the incident to HR.
Don’t wait to find out there’s a problem in your workplace. Be proactive about creating a safe workspace for all your employees, use Bevoco to protect your company and your employees from harassment. Get in touch with us today to find out how Bevoco can work for you
When you think of bullying do you think of high school kids dealing with social media taunts? Or the pre-digital age platform of choice of graffiti on a bathroom stall? Regardless of what format comes to mind, you still likely thought of bullying as a tragic problem teenagers are dealing with.
It’s a sobering thought that your company could someday become a target of a lawsuit. It’s an even more sobering thought that yours could be one of the many companies covered in the press because of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
LinkedIn calls it Phase Two of #MeToo. After a 2018 filled with big names in entertainment, media, and business falling because of sexual harassment scandals, experts in business and HR expect that 2019 will see that pattern continue, though it will with less visible industries and less visible leaders.