David E. Weiss, Member of the Firm in the Corporate Services and Health Care & Life Sciences practices, in the firm’s New York and Newark offices, co-authored an article in Law360, titled “The Need for New Legal and PR Strategies in the #MeToo Era.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

In recent years, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. No longer are these issues confined to the human resources department and the general counsel’s office.

Thanks to powerful movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up, there has been a long-overdue groundswell of increased awareness of these problems throughout all strata of society, including the workplace. Today board members, executives, managers and employees at all levels of the organization need to reexamine their approach to these issues. …

Getting Serious About Training

Enhancing anti-harassment training is another important step to alleviate potential problems. In a growing number of states, including New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware and Maine, this type of training is mandatory for most companies. But even where it is not required by law, it should be a “best practice” for every organization.

Effective training conducted by an experienced trainer not only teaches managers, supervisors and employees to recognize clear and not-so-obvious instances of harassment, but also instructs individuals how to properly report instances of harassment when they do occur. Companies also should be sure to provide enhanced training to management-level employees so that they can better understand their role in addressing workplace harassment.

Many organizations, however, are expanding the scope of training beyond harassment. Employers can benefit from other types of training, including those related to broader topics such as diversity, inclusion and how to identify and prevent unconscious bias and micro-aggressions. In short, an experienced trainer can teach employees and supervisors how to recognize many forms of bias and their negative effects on the workplace.

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