So what is the ‘MeToo’ movement?
On the 15th October 2017 American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘MeToo’ as a reply to this tweet.”
Following this she woke up to thousands of replies and found that her tweet was trending on twitter. Since, the movement has been all over the media with hundreds of thousands of people recognising ‘MeToo’!
The positive impact this has had is phenomenal. Businesses all around the world have become more aware of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the movement has encouraged women to speak out.
‘MeToo’ applies to ‘MenToo’
The stereotype for sexual harassment in the workplace is often seen as a high-powered male making inappropriate remarks or/and inappropriately touching a junior female employee. However, this is not always the case as men experience sexual harassment too!
We have seen massive changes in the workplace recently, including the changing dynamics in power.
Women are now in high-powered positions making it more likely for men to also be sexually assaulted or harassed in the workplace.
A BBC Radio 5 survey found 20% of men questioned said they had experienced sexual harassment, ranging from inappropriate comments to actual sexual assaults. The survey also found that 79% of male victims kept it to themselves.
Often men feel they won’t be taken seriously if they were to speak out or they would even be taken for a joke.
Taking positive steps to spread the word about the ‘MeToo’ movement also applying to ‘MenToo’ will help to encourage men to speak out without feeling embarrassed or as though they won’t be believed!
What if a relationship does arise in the workplace?
As we all understand sometimes relationships do arise in the workplace which don’t involve sexual harassment. However if things go wrong complaints can arise.
Is there anyway you can protect yourself in this situation?
One option would be a ‘Love contract’. ‘Love contracts’ are legal contracts disclosing the fact you are involved in a consensual relationship.
They are a new concept that first arose in the United States and have only recently been introduced to the UK.
While a love contract does show that an employer has taken steps so prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, caution still needs to be taken as it is unlikely to offer much protection in a tribunal.
So what can you do about this?
Key things to consider to help combat sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Introducing a code of practice for sexual harassment
- Being aware
- Talk to employees & make them feel comfortable
- Highlight that sexual harassment can happen to men too
- Be sensible if a relationship does occur.
And finally… have Employment Dispute Insurance in place to protect you and your business if a claim does arise!
Awareness that both sexes can experience sexual harassment or assault is helpful and being responsive when someone steps forward is a very good start!
If you have any questions regarding your policy or anything mentioned in this article then please do not hesitate to get in contact! Just send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 033 33 448 535.