The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Sara Forte

The CBA and the #MeToo campaign

Sexual harassment complaints are good for your business

By Sara Forte February 19, 2018 19 February 2018

Sexual harassment complaints are good for your business

In my employment law practice, I work with employers, including lawyers and law firms, to implement harassment policies.  One client said, “But Sara, if I have a policy about harassment, won’t that encourage employees to make complaints?”  He really did not want to have to deal with complaints.  Complaints can be messy and emotional.

Sexual harassment complaints are good for your business and it benefits your business to have a policy that encourages employees to bring them forward. Why? Because sexual harassment is everywhere. If you had any doubt about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, I hope that was extinguished by #MeToo. 

Short-term avoidance leads to long-term pain and turnover

If we accept that sexual harassment is pervasive, it follows that sexual harassment could be happening in your law firm.  If sexual harassment is happening, you want to know about it so that you have the opportunity to deal with it.  It is much easier to investigate, and even to defend allegations of sexual harassment close to the time of the events. If there is no mechanism to raise complaints, they may get buried only to resurface years, or even decades later.  With the passage of time, evidence deteriorates and it is much harder for the organization and individuals involved to respond.

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