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#RESPECTWORKS - TIP OF THE MONTH | AUGUST 2019

Men and #MeToo: Avoiding the Movement's Unintended Consequence

Since October 2017, the #MeToo movement has brought to light workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault against women. And while #MeToo has resulted in many positive changes for women and men victimized by harassment, it has also created some unintended consequences — one of which is men consciously avoiding women as way of preventing any possibility of being falsely accused of sexual harassment.

But avoiding sexual harassment by simply avoiding women is neither realistic nor respectful — and it may open their company up to gender discrimination claims.

Don't worry, though; men can protect themselves while simultaneously maintaining interaction with the opposite sex. Episode 6 of "The Workplace" podcast — Men and #MeToo Movement — offers a comprehensive discussion on this topic. Here are a few podcast highlights.

Communicate. Talk to women with whom you'll be working and be straightforward. Acknowledge that #MeToo has changed things and brought many things to light, and ask relevant questions, such as, "Is there anything I'm doing that's bothering you, that's making you uncomfortable?"

Ensure open reporting. Make sure that your organization's mechanisms for talking about or reporting harassment are open so that a person at any level of the company knows where to go to discuss a situation with another employee, whether that individual is a superior or a subordinate. And don't designate just one person — give your employees options within the company and outside it.

Be impeccable. Be a good person. Do exactly what you should be doing and what you know to be right, and if someone files a claim against you, the truth will emerge. (Because the truth is usually pretty obvious.)

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