The Impacts of Workplace Harassment in the #MeToo Era
As the press continues to extensively cover allegations of sexual misconduct by individuals in a position of authority or influence, the matter of workplace harassment is front and center at water coolers and dinner tables across the country.
One major change contributing to the prominence of this topic has been the societal acknowledgment of workplace harassment. The #MeToo campaign, a social media hashtag topic denouncing sexual assault and harassment, gained incredible steam in late 2017. Undoubtedly, the increasing presence and accessibility of social media has facilitated greater discussion regarding workplace harassment, if not greater potential for allegations to quickly become public knowledge. As survivors desire for their voices to be heard, we expect to witness a surge in employment related claim activity.
My workplace is safe. Do I need to worry?
Yes. In the #MeToo era, you must be prepared to accept that workplace harassment allegations will no longer be dealt with behind closed doors. As victims come forward, the accused parties are being held publicly accountable – often before the employer has had a chance to investigate the claims. The consequences of being unprepared can have significant impacts to your company’s culture and your bottom line.
How can I reduce my exposure to loss?
If you currently do not purchase Employment Practices Liability (EPL) insurance, the time is ripe for a discussion with your BKS advisor about putting a program in place. The policy protects organizations, including executives and employees, from workplace related claims of harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation.
You should also begin taking advantage of resources that the EPLI marketplace has to offer, and strengthening a corporate culture free of harassment.
What can I do to prevent harassment in my workplace?
A well placed, comprehensive EPL insurance program is an imperative component of any risk management plan; however, you should also give thoughtful consideration to prevention efforts such as:
- The type of anti-harassment training that you provide;
- The efforts you are taking to improve workplace behavior;
- Ensuring your internal policies complement your management liability insurance program.
For more information on protecting your business from sexual harassment, visit our Manage Sexual Harassment Risk: Policy Considerations and Preventative Actions guide.
Where can I get more information?
For a detailed analysis from BKS and RT ProExec, read our Reflecting on Exposure and Coverage in the #MeToo Era article. Topics covered include:
- How prevalent is workplace harassment?
- What can employers do to minimize risk?
- What are the implications for EPLI coverage?
- What is your duty to defend?
Your BKS advisor is available to assist with any questions you have.