How is the #MeToo Movement Affecting the Workplace?

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#MeToo One Year Later
In a recent article by Mindy Pollack, Gen Re Property/Casualty Treaty Product Specialist, Stamford, she discusses how the #MeToo movement is influencing workplace behaviors. Mindy reports that, for the first time in a decade, the EEOC (The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission) saw a 13.6% surge in the number of sexual harassment complaints that workers made over the past year. Some are saying the #MeToo campaign has played a part in this. The #MeToo movement materialized over a year ago amidst allegations that men in the entertainment industry were abusing their power. This movement has raised concerns among some workers and has made 1 out of 4 employees warier of office romance as some may not have known the difference.

Misconduct or harassment can be defined in a number of different ways. If these behaviors interfere within the daily workplace, it can trigger a contentious work atmosphere. Any actions with a sexual overtone that create an awkward workplace environment may be regarded as sexual harassment. However, men and women tend to differ when it comes to this sensitive topic. It has been reported that nearly 30% of male managers are uncomfortable working alone with a women, more than double the amount before the #MeToo movement.

This issue of office romance is on the forefront. What one person considers innocent banter, another may consider sexual harassment. This may be problematic as over half of workers were said to have had a least one office relationship. From an innocently intended request to have lunch together to requesting a sexual favor, men’s and women’s views have a wide range of what they consider sexual harassment.

Many employers purchase EPLI policies (Employment Practices Liability Insurance) and included with these policies are online training courses and the availability to speak to attorneys who can help with sensitive harassment questions. Berkley FinSecure recognizes this need and offers our EPL insureds access to EPL Carry-Thru to provide our financial services industry partners with sound employment practices risk management advice. We work with Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the largest law firms in the country focused on employment practices law to provide Risk Management Services to our insureds.

Given this heightened awareness, a concise handbook, clear HR policies, and proper employee training take on more significance. So if you have EPL insurance with us and need to discuss an employment situation, please access your EPL Carry-Thru resources.

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