The #metoo movement that sprang to the forefront of the news cycle in the latter half of 2017 helped empower victims of sexual harassment to share their stories and seek justice and vindication. It also toppled the careers of many powerful and influential people in entertainment and media. Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Garrison Keilor and Charlie Rose are just a few of the big names who lost their jobs, nearly immediately after accusations came out.
One of the most common questions that arose on social media in these situations was how is it that an accusation can lead to what feels like an automatic firing?
Any company that is the size of, say, NBC, will have well-known, rigid structures in place for reporting incidents of harassment. That is not to say these procedures always work as planned. In the case of Lauer, it took the allegations finally becoming public for his job to be forfeit as a consequence.
However, it is important to remember that there is a lot happening behind the scenes that the general public is not aware of. Companies might not release all the details of their investigations, so you only see the result and not everything that led to the decision.
In many of these cases, it is likely that there had been previous reports filed, but the company did not do a sufficient job of following its own processes, meaning it had to take a big, dramatic action when the accusations became public.
It is important for companies to learn from these high-profile cases. Accusations should not be brushed off or suppressed until made public. Companies must have rigid processes and procedures in place to address harassment as soon as it becomes an issue.
For more information on your legal options if you’ve been a victim of workplace harassment, consult an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.