A note from CEO, Mary Beth Hartleb
Our workplace has experienced a paradigm shift with the #ME TOO movement. The zero tolerance approach adopted by corporations and government entities is a step in the right direction to eradicate harassment in the workplace.
The reverberating effect of these cases has impacted the workplace in a way few are discussing publicly but which I am managing with clients on a daily basis. That is, how do men and women now work together? What is the "new" workplace etiquette? Is innocent flirting ok? Can I hug someone? Is it appropriate to have lunch/dinner/drinks with a female employee or colleague? How do I set personal boundaries and express those to others? All good questions and an opportunity to change the culture in the workplace for the better.
I have conducted anti-harassment training for most of my thirty year career, and recently revised this training to identify not only the legal risks and appropriate workplace policy and investigation methods, but also focus on workplace communication, personal boundaries and mutual respect.
My experience investigating these situations indicates that often a misunderstanding in the form of an inappropriate comment, a failed attempt to initiate a workplace romance, a joke one considers crude escalate because leadership is not encouraging a culture of open communication and respect. The offended individual who is often intimidated or unsure of how to communicate clearly and professionally that they have been offended. This results in hidden and real costs. Lost productivity, tension in the workplace, good employees leaving, reputations of companies and individuals tarnished.
Expressing ones personal boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable is necessary as is leadership support of employees to do so.
Media Relations and Press Inquiries:
RB Group - Public Relations
Mary Beth Hartleb, J.D, SPHR-CA, CPC
Years of HR Experience: 30
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