#MeToo movement – an opportunity for the Mid Market companies

Posted on: July 17th, 2018

Attention CEOs: This is an opportunity to showcase your culture and values

The #MeToo movement has provided an opportunity for employees in businesses of all sizes to feel more empowered to report problems. We applaud this shift and are using this as an opportunity to ask the small- or mid-market business to consider the opportunity this presents for them to evaluate their corporate culture and communicate values they hold dear.

Given these shifts, our team of CFOs is having ongoing and regular discussions with our CEOs and management teams regarding ways to become more proactive in these important matters. In the past, raising this topic may have been reactive to a situation or interpreted to mean that we had a concern about a particular manager or owner who may have displayed behavior that was insensitive or harassing in nature. Let’s be honest, that was likely the only time CEOs were willing to have these discussions.

Fortunately, awareness of these issues has changed the conversation and we are now able to engage in these important discussions in a meaningful way.  The issue is not only ensuring the company is protected from a manager or owner who may be insensitive to his or her actions; it is about what the company can do proactively to ensure its employees are protected.  This is also an opportunity for companies to send a clear message to their team that dignity and respect for all employees is a corporate value they hold dear.

Doesn’t my insurance policy cover me?

Sexual harassment is NOT covered in commercial general liability policies.  It is, however, included in employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) which includes sexual harassment and racial discrimination.  Your policy may or may not adequately cover your company.  All companies should evaluate their level of coverage.

What else is there to consider?

  • Review your policies and procedures on diversity, harassment, and gender equality.
  • Consider practices within the company that may not necessarily be written or verbally communicated but may promote insensitivity to others and could be interpreted by some as offensive.
  • Do you have a process that encourages and properly responds to complaints?
  • Are your processed and values communicated, from the top, company-wide, and with consistency?
  • Do you offer training for your supervisors and managers on sexual harassment?
  • Self-assess. Becoming more aware of your behavior and how your actions impact others is not an admission of guilt.  It is a signal that you and the company are becoming more aware and committed to treating your employees with dignity.  Small shifts can make a big difference.

The #MeToo movement has raised awareness on these really important issues.  It has also provided a pathway for companies to make a clear statement regarding their corporate values and to ensure they are providing a workplace that promotes dignity and equality for all employees.

If you’re looking for guidance on the types of procedures to put in place, feel free to give us a call at 407-426-8288. For more details, reach out to CEO Shannon Carbone at Shannon@cfosp.com.

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