- Two years after the #MeToo movement took hold, 61% of women in a Fairgodboss survey said the situation in the workplace has remained the same or gotten worse.
- The percentage of women reporting incidences of sexual harassment to HR grew from 43% in 2018 to 51% in 2019. Of the respondents who didn’t report claims of misconduct, 41% said they kept quiet because the alleged harasser was a direct supervisor, almost double the percentage of women who gave the same response in 2017.
- Nearly 60% of women said high-profile men charged with sexual harassment, such as former NBC Today host Matt Lauer and comedian Louis C.K., don’t deserve to return to the workplace, up from 11% of respondents who had the same opinion in 2018.
HR departments, alongside managers, play a large role in ridding the workplace of sexual misconduct. But a study by pelotonRPM found that many managers and other leaders are ill-prepared to deal with harassment claims, bullying, discrimination and other misconduct. For example, they often don’t know what follow-up questions to ask workers who file complaints and aren’t always aware of or don’t always communicate an employer’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. HR can help managers and themselves become better equipped to handle misconduct with thorough training.
More obvious incidents of sexual harassment may be easier to address, but experts like Jonathan Segal, a partner at Duane Morris LLP, have advised employers to focus on the less visible aspects or “gray areas” of sexual harassment. “There are a number of areas in HR that we need to think about giving guidance to navigate the gray,” Segal told attendees at the 2019 Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference, referring to such issues as office dating between superiors and subordinates and the complications that often arise in these relationships.