What Does 2019 Have in Store for #MeToo?

HR Dive

David W. Garland, Member of the Firm and Chair of the firm’s National Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Steering Committee, authored an article in HR Dive, titled “What Does 2019 Have in Store for #MeToo?”

Following is an excerpt:

As 2018 draws to a close, it's no exaggeration to say that the impact of the #MeToo movement in the workplace this year has been significant.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has continued its focus on preventing harassment in the workplace and has filed numerous lawsuits against employers alleging harassment, about 50% more than in 2017. The number of sex harassment charges filed with the EEOC also increased by 14% in 2018. States and cities have enacted new laws, imposing mandatory anti-harassment training requirements, prohibiting confidentiality in settlements of sex harassment claims and requiring greater female representation on boards of directors.

Employers have reacted to these developments in many ways, including banning mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements covering claims of sex harassment and assault. As we head into 2019, what further consequences should employers expect from the #MeToo movement?

There can be little doubt that 2019 will bring the filing of more administrative charges and lawsuits making sex harassment claims. That's obvious from the reported numbers, but conversations with employment lawyers and human resources executives provide anecdotal evidence that more filed cases are forthcoming. At the same time, C-suite members have recognized the threats that these claims pose to employers' reputations and brands, and therefore additional resources likely will be devoted internally to creating healthy, inclusive and respectful workplaces and to training leaders and supervisors on appropriate workplace conduct. But beyond that, what can we anticipate?