March 30, 2018  

Sexual Harassment Has Reached an Inflection Point

Toxic Work Environment People Analytics

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the veil has been lifted on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace and the numbers are staggering.

Millions of men and women have finally been empowered by the #MeToo movement to come forward and tell their stories. In fact, 1 in 3 women reported that they have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. Unfortunately, this problem isn't limited to a few bad actors either. About 20 to 25 percent of men self-reported participating in sexually coercive behavior, ranging from forced sex to verbal manipulation like guilt-tripping a woman into having sex.

Given the breadth of harassment claims that have emerged, it doesn’t seem that there are many large enterprises in any industry that can credibly claim that harassment is not an issue in their workplace.

That being said, we have begun to learn a lot about the types of companies that are less susceptible to workplace sexual harassment. Organizations with more women in leadership roles, executive buy-in on anti-harassment efforts, and consistent enforcement of corporate policies have proven track records of being less likely to experience workplace harassment, as defined by the EEOC. Unfortunately, even with all of these efforts, moving the needle on these fronts can still be quite challenging.

This moment has the potential to be a major inflection point in the effort to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. However, if we fail to truly understand the scope of the problem before us, the moment will slip through our fingers. We believe that leaders in technology, law, politics, and HR need to come together to find solutions that speak to the underlying foundations of this problem—and while major victories have been won in rooting out some of the worst of the worst, our work is just beginning.

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