Beyond #MeToo – 13 Questions

Someone asked me recently if I was considering writing a book about sexual harassment given the prevalence of the topic in the press. My response was – no. There is, however, much to say on the subject. Rather than a book, writing blog posts with numerous points to consider, seemed like a better path.  

By now, everyone is aware changes are being made in the way that organizations address sexual harassment.  How is your organization responding to workplace harassment in the post-#MeToo environment? What are some of things you should be doing, or doing differently? Here are some things to consider. 

  1. Is your organizational culture perceived to be a comfortable environment where people will bring issues about workplace behavior, harassment and other behaviors, to the forefront? If so, will these issues be addressed if they are brought forward?

  2. How do you communicate a shift in your culture if the perception is no, it’s not comfortable? You want to make employees aware that their opinion matters and that they have a stake in shaping the culture. Do you do climate surveys or town-hall type meetings where these issues are discussed? Do managers talk about them in staff meetings?

  3. Where do you set the threshold for unacceptable behavior (versus actionable harassment – behavior that meets a legal standard)? In the post-#MeToo environment, if you haven’t already done so, raise the threshold and do not tolerate unprofessional or inappropriate behavior. It’s distracting and unproductive.

  4. Are there people in the organization who are perceived to be “untouchable” – exempt from policy or law? In the post-#MeToo environment ask why this perception exist or why there are, in fact “untouchables.”

  5. Is there a neutral process to investigate complaints and are the investigators neutral? In the post-#MeToo environment, there is an expectation that investigations will happen immediately. Be sure you have appropriate investigators, internal or external, in place before a complaint is made so you can act quickly and appropriately without reacting or speeding through an investigation for the sake of speed.

  6. Assuming there is a process, do you employees know it exists and understand how to file a complaint? Have you considered issues specific to your organization or industry – remote employees, non-English speakers, employees with frequent customer contact, to name a few? Its important employees understand your policies and complaint procedures. 

  7. If harassment is determined to exist does the punishment fit the crime? The post-#MeToo environment with high profile situations covered in the media has given rise to the expectation that all behavior that is determined to be harassment must result in termination. Any management action you take should be proportional to the seriousness of the behavior – and not all behavior is equal. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published a report on its study of workplace harassment in June 2016. If you’re interested in reading the report, you can find a copy at

And if you missed it, be sure to read our post from February 13 – Compliance or Common Sense, at

No comments ()


Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.