Once upon a time, sexual harassment was something that women (and some men) just accepted as “something you have to deal with” at work. Well, times are changing — and human resource professionals predict that those changes are going to continue over the coming year and beyond.
- The workplace culture is shifting. Company cultures change with the trends. Experts say that companies are starting to move away from “perks” (like video games in the breakroom and free snacks) that employees can provide for themselves. Instead, companies are focusing on demonstrating their values and their commitment to creating safe, supportive spaces for employees to work. Look for conflict-management seminars and more aggressive programs designed to prevent workplace harassment in all its forms.
- Companies are becoming more transparent. The blowback from the #MeToo movement has been fierce. Companies that once successfully hid their problems with sexual harassment and other forms of employee abuse have seen their reputations deeply tarnished by the exposure of past problems that were buried. The result has been a movement toward data transparency and open conversations about workplace complaints — and their potential solutions.
- There’s more workplace education about harassment. Companies are starting to take steps to educate their employees about what actually constitutes sexual harassment. They’re also working to help victimized employees better understand the steps they can take to report sexual harassment and make it stop.
- Acts of workplace retaliation are likely to become a new focal point. In the past, employees were often afraid to speak up about sexual harassment at work because they feared retaliation from either their harasser or their employer for “making waves.” Well, that’s pretty much over. Companies that permit retaliation against employees who file complaints are likely to find themselves embroiled in new legal problems — partially because employees are now better educated about their rights.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment at work, you have legal rights that can be enforced. Find out how an experienced attorney can help you.