Originally, this article was developed during the time that the Harvey Weinstein news of sexual harassment broke. Since then, every week someone new has been accused of sexual misconduct.
My friend and colleague Mr. Dave Ryan wrote a fantastic article about the sexual harassment climate in America, it is titled “HR…They’re Not On The Side Of The Employee”
As a Content Manager here on PIC the Defiant Ones, I was proud of him for stepping forward because we hadn’t had anyone tackle this difficult subject until Dave stepped forward. I was thinking about writing something then I hoped someone else would and low and behold, Dave does it again.
He really laid out the problem with sexual harassment and the role (or lack of role) of Human Resources. Let’s be honest, HR has failed victims for fair too long. There is another article out there on the interwebs that says, HR Has Failed Victims of Sexual Harassment. It’s true. Sometimes, we are not as brave as we claim to be. HR protects to the company from liability and unfortunately in many cases that means lying to victims and covering up the truth.
Maybe you don’t want to hear that. Maybe you want to believe its just Chris being Chris again, but its true. Did you read the case of Uber’s sexual harassment case. HR told the victims that this particular manager just does things like that and they shouldn’t worry about it. According to this article over 20 employees have lost their jobs over 215 cases of sexual harassment and other discrimination – this is a systematic failure on the behave of Uber’s HR department.
As we are seeing now, it’s not just Uber.
It’s the Weinstein Group.
It’s Amazon Studios.
It’s Elected Officials.
It’s Olympic Trainers.
It’s Massage Envy.
It’s the City of Olive Branch, Mississippi. You probably haven’t heard of that one. Olive Branch, Mississippi is a town right outside of Memphis, Tennessee, and in late October it was announced that 8 city employees were resigning ahead of sexual harassment allegations. Systematic culture of sexual misconduct.
As Oprah said, “This is a watershed moment in our society” (regarding all the allegations in the news). One of the worst examples since Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby has been Kevin Spacey. This should not be news to you by now, he has been accused of sexual misconduct by Anthony Rapp. The incident happened 30 years ago when Rapp was 16 and Spacey was 26. Kevin Spacey and his communications team offered a flimsy statement on the matter that was 1/3 apology, 1/3 denial, and 1/3 blaming it on the alcohol!
But as is the case today, more allegations have come out. It seems Spacey has been behaving badly on movie sets, rehearsals, and even the House of Cards sets for years. Eight men have come forward with more sexual misconduct claims. It is rumored that Netflix was aware of a couple of incidents. But like Oprah said, “This is a watershed moment…”
Victims aren’t suffering in silence anymore. In fact, they are going viral. It only takes one, like the brave woman that first accused Bill Cosby, like the young lady that first accused Harvey Weinstein, like the young man who first accused Kevin Spacey.
There are more coming so my challenge to you, HR pros, Managers, Leaders, Family Members is this; will you help the victims or will you victimize them too?
It only takes one.