The Problems of HR in Hollywood and Tech
Millions of women have stepped forward on social media to illustrate just how pervasive the problem is in modern society truly is. The watershed moment seems to have come after a long list of actresses and other women who are professionals within the film industry accused film producer Harvey Weinstein, his brother Bob, and the head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price were accused of numerous offenses ranging from sexual harassment, assault, and even rape. Even though Harvey Weinstein is currently seeking treatment for sex addiction, a spokeswoman for Weinstein maintains that Weinstein continues to deny any and all allegations of non-consensual sex.
In a recent article that appeared in the money section of CNN.com, scores of women in the technology sector recounted their own accounts of sexual harassment. The spotlight that was shed on the issue resulted in several venture capitalists resigning.
Women, no matter what industry, or what level their jobs are, sexual harassment and assault have become an almost accepted social norm. Whether the woman is an actress seeking to play a role in an upcoming film, and administrative assistant simply working on a project, or a tech manager seeking investors for their business, such incidents happen regularly. Those who have been brave enough to step forward report having been made to feel demoralized, devalued, and even traumatized by the incident or number of incidents. Experts estimate that a woman is sexually harassed or assaulted every 98 seconds.
Even when a woman has been brave enough to go to HR, many systems are set up to downplay the issue. Even former Fox anchor, Gretchen Carlson recently reported to CBS This Morning that forced arbitration clauses that are put in place within many HR policies and are specifically designed to silence victims. In order to reach a settlement, the woman lodging a complaint is often required to sign a non-disclosure agreement that prevents her from speaking about the incident to anyone when a settlement is reached.
Carlson asserts, that HR is not your friend. Those arbitration proceedings are held in secret. ”No one will ever hear what happened to you,” she said. Having an attorney seems to be the best course of action, but many women may consider taking it too far if it puts her job in jeopardy or the cost of legal representation ends up being too high.
When it happens to women who allege harassment or assault, such as in the case of Weinstein, former HR executive and author of “Corporate Confidential” Cynthia Shapiro says that many women wonder if they should tell their agency. “They may want to protect their relationship with someone more than they want your business,” said Shapiro. “How do you go to your manager if your manager knows that Harvey Weinstein is going to make you a star?”
According to David Ring, a partner at Taylor & Ring who represents victims of sexual harassment., going to human resources can present its own set of issues.
“A lot of times they try to bully the victim … to go away,”
A victim of harassment or assault can take a number of legal avenues according to Ring, but it isn’t always an easy route to take.
Workers who are harassed do have protection under the federal law, Title VII. This law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion. In the case of contractual employees such as is the case in a film production or even other types of work, a lot can boil down to contractual law and what is stipulated within a contract.
Creating a safe workplace, protecting workers civil rights against all kinds of discrimination and sexual harassment should be of concern to every HR professional. Whether you already have an HR department in place or are searching for a solution to make it work better for your small to medium sized firm, EinsteinHR is committed to helping you address all of your human resource and personnel needs.
We can help you find the right person to fill any open positions as well as help you to screen and interview candidates and help administer your organization’s HR policies. Contact us today to find out how we can help at 888-981-3622 (emc2).