BY LIN GRENSING-POPHAL
With claims of sexual harassment being levied against prominent figures in Hollywood, sports and industry,
community banks are wise to ensure that they’re taking proactive steps to keep harassment out of their workplace, communicating effectively so all understand what harassment entails and how to report infractions, and responding quickly and appropriate to any allegations. What steps should you be taking, proactively, to avoid these claims? input
from HR and legal experts.
Christopher W. Smithmyer, is a lawyer and strategic resource development coordinator at Brãv Online Conflict Management, a dispute resolution company. “The #MeToo movement is a result of bad social design for the last hundred or so years,” says Smithmyer.“Companies found it easier to hide instances of sexual abuse—as evidence in the Weinstein case and the Congressional slush fund—rather than deal with the problem. While the media is wringing their hands with the ‘what do we do’ mentality, the solution is quite simple. Have good corporate practices.” Those practices, says Smithmyer, should include:
• Training to defi ne what sexual harassment is within your corporate environment.
• An HR person designated to deal with sexual harassment claims, with backup individuals to serve in this role if one of these people is the accused.
• Dealing with any claims quickly and openly.Without naming the party, Smithmyer says, a statement at a meeting such as “We have had a claim of sexual harassment and this is how we are dealing with it,” can serve to empower others to come forward rather than staying silent.