- Sexual misconduct allegations against former Hollywood director and mogul Harvey Weinstein have prompted more employers to address the problem internally, several media reports show. Fidelity Investments has started to address a long-time, internal problem with sexual misconduct allegations, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports. C. Robert Chow, a 56-year-old long-term Fidelity employee, resigned earlier this month after allegations surfaced that he made unwanted, sexual advances towards coworkers. Sexual misconduct allegations were made against company executives, as well.
- Amazon tried to ease employees' concerns about an executive accused of sexual harassment by sending an all-staff email promising to review its policies to make sure its workplace is free of sexual misconduct, according to reports by the New York Times. A female employee accused Roy Price, the former head of Amazon Studio, of sexually harassing her. Price left the company when the employee's accusations went public. The Times says the email confused employees, since Amazon knew about the accusation in 2015.
- Fidelity and Amazon employees thought the companies were too lenient toward those accused of sexual misconduct by not addressing the issue early on and allowing them to leave instead of being fired. Current and former Amazon employees cite the scarcity of women in the upper levels of the company as the reason Price was treated leniently and the problem not addressed until it became public, says The Times.
At the very least, companies send mixed messages to employees when they suddenly vow to examine their own policies on sexual misconduct — policies that were already in place — but then allow the behavior to fester until it becomes public fodder.
At worst, the problem will fester until any attempts at diverse hiring are dissolved, retention is low and employees consider whistleblowing to outside media instead of internal channels, bringing intense scrutiny from all angles at a time when the company may not survive it.
HR must respond immediately to all claims of sexual misconduct and discrimination and ensure that related policies are enforced. In many cases, victims of the misconduct remain silent, sometimes because of the power the accused wields or the embarrassment of the situation. But organizations must maintain cultures in which victims feel free to come forward with their complaints and that all those accused will be investigated — regardless of their stature.