With the deluge of allegations from both men and women claiming sexual harassment or abuse by people of power, a number of heads have rightfully rolled. From Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, the accused are being ousted from the positions they have held for years— decades even. Faced with allegations of harassment in the workplace, and with these claims often playing out in the court of public opinion, legal departments are in a tough spot. How can companies and in-house counsel create an environment that encourages speaking out, while also ensuring that there’s no fear of a hasty reaction?
Once an investigation is initiated, it’s essential that employees view those involved as neutral and that investigators don’t feel beholden to come to a particular conclusion, said Dona Kahn, of counsel at Anderson Kill and a member of the firm’s labor and employment group. This is true whether the circumstances dictate that the matter be handled internally or with outside help.
“You don’t want to have a situation where everybody is afraid to do something. Afraid to open their mouth or afraid to go in a work trip with someone of the opposite sex,” Kahn said. “There has to be a reasonable, sensible balance so that both men and women have the chance to have a workplace that is welcoming.”
To read the full story: With #MeToo, Companies Must Walk a Fine Line, Can It Be Done?