The Corporate Response to #MeToo

Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz was interviewed on the NPR show 1A about the corporate response to #MeToo. The discussion explored whether workplace cultures have really improved for women, or if companies have simply gotten savvier about presenting an acceptable face to the public.

The #MeToo movement has undoubtedly raised awareness of sexual harassment cases in workplaces across the country. Companies – fearful of being seen as the next Weinstein Company or CBS – are settling complaints quicker and more justly than before. And while this is a welcome development for victims of sexual harassment, preventing future harassment will require changing deep-seated behaviors and attitudes: “The only way we can address sexual harassment is to change culture, and that needs to start at the top,” says Ms. Katz.

Leadership can prove its commitment to eradicating harassment by strengthening their human resources department, and protecting HR professionals from retaliation themselves. Additionally, it is crucial to implement rigorous mandatory harassment training. “The training has to be carefully tailored… it’s not one-size-fits-all,” explains Ms. Katz.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Photo Courtesy of Avery Kleinman/WAMU
Ultimately, there is no silver bullet to solving sexual harassment. “Sexual harassment is fundamentally about power,” observes Ms. Katz. “Until we have a significant cultural shift, and employers incorporate that in their culture, we are going to see sexual harassment.”

Joining Ms. Katz were Victoria Lipnic, the acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Johnny Taylor Jr., the CEO and President of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Listen to the full conversation here.