Podcast: Sexual Harassment Run Amok - A View From the EEOC
With sexual harassment claims remaining very much in the headlines, this podcast takes an in-depth look at the issue with EEOC Associate Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff. "People in privileged positions often feel the basic rules don't apply to them," says Miaskoff, who calls that a huge risk factor for companies.
Despite the striking increase in superstar sexual harassment claims (featured in the last XpertHR podcast), Miaskoff says the percentage of harassment victims who come forward is "very small." For instance, she cites an EEOC Task Force Report revealing that only 8% of people who have been the victims of unwanted physical touching at work actually file a complaint. "People are very afraid of retribution and of having negative professional ramifications," says Miaskoff.
Miaskoff acknowledges that employers often perceive themselves to be in a quandary when a high-level employee stands accused of sexual harassment. But citing a Harvard Business School study, she asserts that the risk of not doing anything is much greater because of the loss in productivity and morale among other employees.
The best setup, according to Miaskoff, is if a company has a lot of different avenues through which a person can complain and many different people who can conduct an investigation depending on who the alleged harasser is. She also discusses the importance of management remaining connected to what's happening in its workplace.