Could Sexual Harassment be a Problem?

Allegations

It will be happening not just in Hollywood but in workplaces across the country. The movement spawned a Twitter hashtag, #MeToo.  More than 1.7 million people have used it in 85 countries, speaking out and naming their harassers.

 

CEOS

Over the past five years, 5.3% of CEOs globally have been forcibly removed due to ethical lapses. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, these lapses include harassment. In the United States, that’s a 102% increase from the previous five years.

Costs

Last year alone, harassment cost U.S. companies more than $160 million in EEOC settlements — an all-time high. That was before the #MeToo revolution. (Fact: The EEOC saw a fourfold increase in visitors to the sexual harassment section of its website after the Harvey Weinstein news surfaced!)

Harassment Accusations

Today, employees feel unrestricted about harassment accusations, sometimes with decades-old allegations. You may possibly have a serial sexual harasser on your payroll. The first complaint opens the floodgates to a PR, social media, and legal disaster.

Seek the Answers

Now your HR should seek the answers to these questions: Is your organization vulnerable to a bombshell complaint? What’s the status of your anti-harassment training—are you just going through the motions? How about your complaint procedures and response planning?

Experts

Experts say the #MeToo movement is generating more harassment victims out of the shadows. The EEOC receives about 30,000 harassment complaints each year.  It estimates that only “6% to 13% of individuals who experience harassment file a formal complaint.”

How should you respond? Here are four tips:

Rethink your Training

1. Rethink your training. There is one main reason most harassment training fails. It’s because both staff and managers see it as a corporate check-the-box exercise aimed at limiting liability. Make clear, through training, communications, and modeling by leaders, that yours is a culture of equality and hands-off respect.

Tip: Swap your online training video for face-to-face role playing that truly explains what kind of behavior is tolerated.

Our expert attorney walks you through today’s new legal risks in plain English, not legalese. Discover the new best practices for preventing, investigating, and remedying sexual harassment in the workplace.

Most importantly, learn how to develop a program that not only meets compliance requirements, but also changes employees’ behavior. Behavior change is essential. Consequently, your boring check-the-box training and slow investigation processes aren’t going to cut it anymore.

Provide Avenues to Report Harassment

2. Provide multiple avenues to report harassment. Many companies fall down when it comes to giving employees several different ways to voice complaints. (Examples: Notify HR, contact a designated senior exec or call a third-party hotline.)

Remember, an employee who is being harassed by her boss is unlikely to file a complaint if your policy requires people to talk to their supervisor.

Don’t Pull Punches

3. Don’t pull punches with a CEO or top executive. Explain the complaint, but also discuss your executive’s actions in light of protecting the organization from an expensive lawsuit. Courts will likely hold your top brass to a higher standard.

If you know what’s going on and fail to stop it, you’re opening the organization—and possibly yourself—to corporate (and even personal) liability.

Enlist the Help

4. Enlist the help of outside investigators and counsel. They will be able to better handle the investigation, explain the legal risks and give you guidance on how to proceed.

How to Treat Women at Work

In many areas of business, research shows that women at work receive an average of 4% less pay than men.  Therefore, they are passed over for promotions.  Why is that?  Your business could suffer dire results if women at work aren’t treated fairly.

Women at Work

Because one study suggests that women unhappy with situations in their workplace just “suck it up.” The study sited one reason for this lack of action. Therefore, women fear being fired, and they usually cannot afford to lose their job.  If your company doesn’t promote women worthy of a task, you hold your own company back and lose money.

Are women being treated fairly in your company?  Do they face sexual harassment or abuse?  Do you promote them if they deserve it?  Pay close attention to your managers and other employees.  Be aware of workforce situations.

Consequences

If you ignore the women in your workforce, then you lose an opportunity to capture a fantastic talent pool.  Women usually think better, are more peaceful, and apply better decision-making skills than most men.

Women don’t stay when they feel unfairly treated. Therefore, you lose quality staff.  You could face a sexual harassment or discrimination case.  The costs associated with these include embarrassment in the marketplace, legal costs, and settlements.

Improve

Never be afraid to make a change.  Pay attention to developments within your company.  See employees by their talents and work ethic.  Re-organize.  You’ll find that by running your business better, your employees and customers are more satisfied.

Don’t just treat women at work fairly.  Offer fairness and quality employment to everyone who works for you.

Mediation for Small Businesses

 

 

 

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Mediation

Small businesses, like corporations, can find themselves in conflict with neighboring businesses, employees, customers,vendors, and even with their business partners. Therefore, unlike corporations, small businesses often do not have the resources to deal with these conflicts.  Thus, the question then becomes: When there is a dispute, does a small business mediate, or go to court?

What is Mediation?

Mediation involves the use of an independent third person, or mediator. Who works with both parties in the dispute to informally negotiate their agreement.  Because this is different from arbitration where a third person hears the evidence contested between the two sides. Therefore, by acting as a judge, renders a legally binding agreement.

Mediation Can Be Effective

Mediation can be an effective way of resolving disputes, eliminating the need to go to court.  And for a small business, a cost effective way. Above all, as much as it can be an efficient and flexible process for resolving a multitude of disputes such as:

  • A result of employee conflict.
  • A contract performance disputes.
  • A disagreement between owners.
  • A dispute with neighboring property owners

In the end, mediation only works if the two parties want it to work.  It is purely voluntary, and the option is always open to go to court if one side or the other still feels that the issue remains unresolved.

Why Not Just Head to Litigation?

Litigation is costly and takes considerable time.  It redirects resources that could better be applied to running the business. Add the interruption to the “quality of life” for the small business owner who is often a member of the local community. Where the vast majority of conflicts arise, and conflicts taken to court can become a nightmare.

Also, a court decision will be “black or white”.  There will be a winner and a loser, probably resulting in long term damage to personal and business reputation. Furthermore, going to court should be a last resort, and that is where Don Swift and Associates come in. Offering high quality and professional mediation services to help weave your way to a solution in an amicable, positive environment.

A Case In Point with Mediation

An employee claimed pay through a contract,which was contested by the employer.  Termination of the employee will not settle the conflict, nor does the employer wish to lose who is an excellent employee. And the employee wants to resolve the issue in a positive environment. Therefore, they agree to head to mediation, and that is where Don Swift and Associates came in. As a skilled negotiator and mediator, Don Swift follows a robust and respectful process for resolving disputes Listening to the arguments of both parties. Don Swift and Associates is able to sort out what is the intention of the contract, what the contract says, and what both sides believe. 

Knowing Facts

Knowing all the facts, it became apparent that the contract did not clearly outline what the parties had said was their belief of an agreement, mediation won. Coming up with a solution in this situation was clearly done on the basis of what both parties wanted.  They wanted to carry on with what was agreed and resolve the issue on the basis of their original agreement. Though the contract was not exactly clear in that effect.And that is the value of mediation.  It is purely a voluntary process that allows the parties to come to an agreement on the basis of what they want and may be happy with.  In this case, the dispute was settled, the employer kept the employee, and the employee was glad to continue to work.

Don Swift and Associates

Call on Don Swift and Associates to help you with leading-edge mediation services in the Wichita Falls, Texas area.   Don Swift is involved in bringing the parties to a positive resolution in many disputes. Discussing his role in mediation, Don Swift states, “A large focus is allowing the emotional energy to take the parties to a positive resolution.”  Don continues with, “There is a tremendous amount of emotion that gets built up between parties.  My approach is to let people express themselves openly. I peel back the layers of the onion and reconstruct the story in a thoughtful and logical way to expose the issues and possible solutions.”In his work, Don remains the thoughtful mediator, not taking sides. Building a path to resolution that respects the businesses.

 

Regards,

Don Swift

P.S. If you find this newsletter helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends, family, and colleagues. If you need assistance, call 940-228-0550. You can visit my website for more information at www.donswiftandassociates.com.

 

New Beginnings

 

 

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New Beginnings

I have always thought of the end of the year and the beginning of the new year as an opportunity for new beginnings.  This goes way back with me and helps me make sense of the new year’s resolutions we all tend to make and break.

I feel the same way about managing HR activities.  The new year is a perfect time to begin thinking about how to re-iterate those aspects of your HR plan that are so important to overall and continued growth.

Review

I think one way to do that is to review those aspects of your company’s culture, values, and rules of engagement that are expressed in your on-boarding training.  In general, when we bring a new employee into the company we want to ensure they understand the aspects of the company that make it “tick”.  I am sure you go over the following (at least) with a new employee:

  • Handbook policies and HR procedures;
  • Company values;
  • Rules of conduct;
  • Discrimination and sexual harassment;
  • Workplace violence philosophy and rules;
  • Health and safety;
  • Time off rules;
  • Ethics
  • Conflict and conflict resolution

 

  • Understanding the Rules

You may say to yourself, “Why is he trying to make more work for me?”  I’m not.  I’m actually trying to save you work down the road and to strengthen the general understanding of those things that often become a burden when employees don’t understand all the rules.  And, even long-term employees forget the details of these things from time to time.

So, what have you got to lose?  Put together some brief, but complete, training which lets your employees know there are rules to engagement.  Keep these things in front of them and create a common understanding amongst your work force of the rules and regulations of being one of your employees.

Good luck and happy new year.

Regards,

Don Swift

P.S. If you find this newsletter helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends, family, and colleagues. If you need assistance, call 940-228-0550. You can visit my website for more information at www.donswiftandassociates.com.

 

Are There Games in Your Office?

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For two weeks my eyes were glued to the television watching the spectacular efforts of the participants at the Olympics.  The competition was fierce, and we all learned that there has been cheating.  That took a long and independent investigation, and all this got me thinking about the competition that can go on in the workplace.

 

Competition in the Workplace

 

Competition in the workplace can be positive.  I think of it this way; our employees are a team.  They have a common goal to win for the team.  The individual performances are important, but as the team plays and wins, all the team players win.

 

Competition in the workplace can also be negative.  The individuals can be fighting all the time, which means they are not cooperating towards a common goal.  As one loses, they all lose.

 

The Coach

 

You may be the coach.  How you coach can determine whether your team wins or loses.  You win, you keep working.  You lose, and we all know what happens to coaches that lose.

 

What to Do?

 

As with any group of people there are those that may have hidden agendas, differing objectives and ways to work with others.  It is your job as the coach to sort all this out and make the decisions that turn the team into a winner.  But, we all know, the boss is short on time, has too many responsibilities and possibly, the Human Resource systems that could help are not in place.

 

What to do?  Call a premier Human Resources Specialist in the Wichita Falls, Texas, and area.  Call Don Swift, and Associates at 940-228-0550.  Don Swift has the experience and expertise, as a life coach in Texas, to help you identify the personalities of the players on the team and how to bring out the best in them.

 

The Personalities

Why is that important to understand the personalities?  In sports, every coach appreciates it is important to know the personalities of the participants to be able to work to bring out the best in them.  The same applies to the team in the workplace. Here are some of the differences:

 

The High Jumper

This person is always racing to jump and get the best assignments.  Because they are so aggressive, you may give the cream jobs to them, at the expense of the rest of the team.

The Handball Player

They weave, bob, and throw things at you.  It could be a snarky comment or push out of the way.  These types of people do things that are not in your best interests, and are good at doing what they do without the coach seeing what is going on.  As a coach, it is tough to ascertain the truth.  Get it wrong and you will have an adverse effect on the whole team.

 

The Basketball Player

They dribble around and do not have an interest in completing the game.  They pass things off to the other players hoping they will be carried.  With any team, the weakest link can bring the down the whole team.  As the coach, it may be hard for you to concentrate on the individuals to find out what is wrong.

 

Back to What to Do?

There is so much to do as the coach at work.  To get help, call the Human Resource Consultant in the Wichita Falls, Texas, and area who can help.  Call Don Swift and Associates to bring an expert human resources specialist, Wichita Falls, to your worksite.

 

Don Swift and Associates has been helping work teams become winning teams for years, and they would love to help you and your team as your Texas life coach.

 

Do you need to identify the personalities that are holding your team back, or learn new ways to solve conflicts?  No matter what the human resource issue in the Wichita Falls, Texas, and area, Don Swift and Associates is your contact.

 

Call Don Swift and Associates today at 940-228-0550 and check out their Website for all sorts of great information.  Don’t wait any longer for a winning team.  Call on Don Swift and Associates today at 940-228-0550 and let him help you go for gold as your Human Resource Specialist in Wichita Falls, Texas and area.

 

(Written by Wayne Drury)