The statistics for those who can use the #metoo hashtag are astounding. I dare say a significant amount of these incidents occur at the workplace, since many spend more waking hours at their jobs than at any other location each day. In addition, the workplace fosters the power imbalance often associated with many forms of harassment and violence. In my opinion it's just a matter of time before #atworktoo becomes the new conversation.
What is your response as an employer? You can certainly choose not to respond to it; to believe that it should be left at home or dealt with outside of your office. Or you can choose to face it head-on.
What means to help/support your workers and your executives do you have in place? How effective are those channels? How non-judgmental, confidential and proactive are they? Is it time to revisit your systems? If so, who can you trust to give you a non-biased opinion about their effectiveness or offer suggestions of how to improve upon them? If you don't have anything in place, what are your options? Where do you as a business owner go for help?
Because I'm an interfaith minister with a background and education in mediation, arbitration and employment law, I of course will suggest a path of confidential reporting that acts from a place of love and support. I will suggest ways that give accusers and their accused a safe place to have difficult conversations and help them to find peaceful resolutions. Of course I will suggest that you offer a neutral, non-biased person your staff can talk with on a regular basis where their discussions will remain totally confidential unless mandated reporting is required. And of course I will suggest that sticking your head in the sand will leave you vulnerable, as all forms of harassment and abuse have in the past.
Would you like to have this conversation? Call me. I'm ready.
Rev. Ronnie Roll is an interfaith minister, strategic business consultant and mediator. Her mission and passion lies in helping people create legacies, build bridges and celebrate life as a way to further humankind and celebrate our spiritual selves.