Sexual harassment in the workplace has been a major issue impacting employers and employees long before the pandemic. How have changes due to COVID impacted harassment in the workplace? Join me, Eric Sarver, Esq., employment law attorney, and my guest, Matthew Stegmeier, Director of Operations at PROJECT WHEN, to discuss how employers can help stomp out sexual harassment – whether in a virtual or in-person workplace.
About Matthew Stegmeier:
0:40 – 15:13 – Eric introduces his guest Matthew Stegmeir. He is the Director of Operations at PROJECT WHEN, a non profit with a focus on helping victims of harassment and helping employers create a more respectful work environment. They bring awareness of what bystanders can do in order to advocate for their colleagues. Matt will take a holistic approach and look at the practices of the company so that they can find faults before issues become greater. He believes that being compliant with the law is doing the bare minimum and it is really important for companies to look at their practices with an open mind.
18:10 – 30:31 – Eric asks how Matt has seen how Covid-19 has impacted harassment in the workplace. It is important to note that not all workers have had the option of working from home. For those working from home, Matt has noticed that people are more relaxed and it will be challenging for some to transition back to the professional environment of the office. Matt believes that this may even cause an uptick in harassment cases. One of the things that PROJECT WHEN offers is an Organizational Certification Program for companies that want to make ending harassment a priority. They will also host a roundtable discussion with a company’s leaders so that they may figure out what their blind spots are.
33:19 – 45:17 – Eric and Matt note that many businesses will look at this issue from the perspective of “what’s in it for me?” First it is important to make sure that you are in compliance with the law, but taking that next step can go a long way. By protecting employees and letting them know that the organization cares about them, employees will feel safe and work productively without fear. It is important to have a plan in place so that if something happens, the company is not caught off guard. Eric lists some of the procedures and resources that he encourages his clients to have in order to protect their employees from harassment.
47:33 – 57:30 – Harassment in the workplace is a worldwide problem that Eric believes is a pandemic in itself. It is all encompassing in some places, when it strikes it can be hard to eradicate and Eric believes it can be contagious when the workplaces encourage this behaviour. Matt tells us how he coaches bystanders on how to play more active roles in their workplace. One component of the Organizational Certification Program has this lesson. In regards to the Cuomo case, one of his victims stated that what hurt her the most was the lack of action from the people around her. Bystanders have the power to support victims of harassment and acknowledge what is going on. Eric wants employees to understand that if you choose to speak up you are protected by federal and local laws, so retaliation from your employer can be disputed. For more information about PROJECT WHEN visit projectwhen.org.
About Employment Law Today
Helping Business With Employment Law Issues.
For many business owners, it can be overwhelming to keep up and comply with the federal and state labor and employment laws that govern how they run their business. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there are new laws and regulations regarding hiring, firing, and workplace practices and protocols — all of which can increase business owners’ anxieties about regaining traction or thriving again. On my weekly show, we will be discussing the most common employment law related questions and challenges that business owners have been facing in these uncertain times.
The show will have three main goals: (1) to inform businesses about employment law updates, (2) to inspire businesses by giving them the tools to move forward, and (3) to demonstrate how some business owners have overcome their employment law problems, walked through the challenges imposed by this pandemic, and have taken steps to regain traction during the reopening phases of this pandemic.
Our guests will include professionals who advise businesses from an H.R., legal, and financial perspective, along with thriving business owners who will share their experiences and insights into running a successful company while complying with labor and employment law mandates during COVID-19.