The “Me Too Movement” began in 2006 with Tarana Burke, who created the program to empower young women of color from marginalized communities who have been sexually abused, assaulted, or exploited. The movement went viral when Alyssa Milano tweeted “#MeToo” on October 15, 2017, subsequently sparking interest in the discourse surrounding the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse in our culture. One social sphere that took extra notice to the movement was the realm of employment. Given that many of the original sharers of the hashtag were women who had been sexually abused and harassed by Harvey Weinstein – in other words, women who were harmed in the scope of their employment – employers took special notice to their policies and the steps they were taking to protect their employees.
The beneficial changes to the workplace came in many forms. Some employers were inspired to revamp their policies and include language explicitly prohibiting sexual harassment and the steps for eradicating it in the workplace. Other employers shared various trainings with their employees, giving them real life scenarios to imagine and understand perspectives different from their own. Further, employers are taking initiatives to diversify their workforces and promote cultures that are welcoming to people of all backgrounds. By being open and willing to take steps to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace, many employers are acknowledging that sexual harassment is something that will not be tolerated.
Despite Progress, Sexual Harassment Remains a Workplace Issue
So five years after #metoo, there is no more sexual harassment in the workplace, right?
In spite of the recognition and respect held by the #metoo movement, the culture of sexual harassment and violence has continued to exist, including in the workplace. To this day, Schaefer Halleen continues to represent survivors of sexual harassment and abuse that occurred in the workplace.
The trends of sexual harassment in the workplace follow similar patterns. In many cases, the perpetrator is a supervisor or owner of the company, one whom employees think is ‘untouchable’ or otherwise would not face repercussions. In other cases, the perpetrator is perceived as a long-time employee who is generally harmless and is not causing enough damage to warrant termination. Further, “boys’ clubs” continue to exist in a variety of industries, and many members of these clubs seem to believe that their personal benefits from these clubs outweigh the benefits of a welcoming and safe culture. These themes appear again and again in spite of #metoo.
Schaefer Halleen offers support for those affected by sexual harassment in the workplace.
As a result, our firm continues its fight against sexual harassment in the workplace. While employers have made great strides in educating and prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, there remains much room for improvement. To ensure eradication of sexual harassment in the workplace, we must continue to stand up against it and spread the word that it will not be tolerated.
If you believe you have experienced sexual harassment in your workplace, do not hesitate to reach out to us at 612-294-2600 or online at schaeferhalleen.com