Barton LLP’s attorneys are committed to advising clients to be proactive in their business operations to manage risk. Due to the #MeToo Movement that began one year ago, companies need to be cognizant of the many new and evolving laws that govern the relationship between employer and employee, as well as evolving best practices to prevent against sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace and effectively respond to any allegations.
As part of Barton’s dedication to having the most up-to-date information to be able to advise its clients in this area, we attended the program “Beyond #MeToo: Moving from Awareness to Action” hosted by Capalino + Company and BritishAmerican Business held at the Library at the Public Theater on September 26, 2018. Capalino + Company is a government relations and lobbying firm, and BritishAmerican Business is an exclusive transatlantic business networking group for C-suite executives and SMEs in the UK & USA. There was consensus among the panelists that we are now at a “tipping point” where it is becoming increasingly recognized that sexual harassment and gender discrimination is simply no longer acceptable and that the #MeTooMovement has empowered victims to come forward with less fear of retribution. One of the panelists said we are experiencing a “transformative moment” in history and heading towards a culture that makes sexual harassment intolerable.
Under these circumstances, staying up to date with constantly changing laws and expected compliance procedures is critical as is having best practices in place. Our attorneys in the Labor and Employment Group at Barton are ready to provide clients with cutting edge advice in this area. As discussed by the panel at the Beyond #MeToo, companies must be incentivized to comply with developing law and anti-sexual harassment policies. The following suggestions were made to accomplish this: (1) communicate that there is a serious threat of complaints and lawsuits if the company does not comply; (2) communicate that this is non-negotiable and it is the price of doing business; (3) encourage companies to create a new climate of accountability and enforcement as opposed to treating such policies as a “check the box” exercise; and (4) make sure that the company understands the importance of setting a tone at the top. Our attorneys regularly assist clients in this process as well as providing guidance if any issues come up or complaints are made.
For further information, please reach out to a member of our Labor & Employment team.