In the wake of the #MeToo movement, which brought the conversation around workplace sexual harassment to a whole new level, companies are finding themselves in tough positions when it comes to major legal liabilities. This has brought with it many opportunities for reputation management firms to provide D&O liability insurance for clients, as well as many opportunities for businesses to review their current takes on sexual harassment in the workplace.
As #MeToo picked up steam online and in the celebrity rounds, local and state governments began crafting and passing laws prohibiting the use of nondisclosure agreements in sexual misconduct cases. In 2018, California banned the agreements entirely in regards to cases involving sexual assault, discrimination, or harassment. New York and New Jersey passed similar laws, as well.
While the movement is not as publicized as it was when it initially was circulated, it is still making an impact on how businesses operate from the top down. But what is the true impact of these changes and what has been done after a conversation is started at a company?
According to a recent survey, companies may have engaged in conversation around sexual harassment and accountability at work, but only 42 percent of women report nothing has actually happened to address harassment. The survey goes on to describe a new company culture that is aware of this movement, the role of harassment at work, and the demand for equality for women, but also one that has not seen advancement.
Respondents pointed out that while programs like maternity leave and sexual harassment training are good to have, there needs to be more done to address gender bias and power imbalances, which both lead to more harassment and discrimination.
Companies can take more deliberate steps to address these issues at work as well as implement new actions and steps to fix company culture. Companies can start with an audit of their current policies and practices, then move on to assess if they are unintentionally acting as a barrier to workplace advancement for women.
It may take some time for not only full gender equality at work but also a ridding of a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination. But companies that review their policies and begin to implement steps and courses of action to protect victims and penalize assailants can be a step in the right direction at least.
Another way that companies can respond during #MeToo is to make sure their D&O liability insurance is up to date. Complaints about sexual harassment have shot up in recent years, which means that companies need to be prepared for legal trouble. Investing in D&O liability insurance can show that a company is taking responsibility and accountability and can protect companies from claims that while also supplying the resources needed to pay legal fees and payments to claimants.
About Axis Insurance
At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (877) 787-5258 to speak with one of our professionals.