On behalf of California Employment Counsel, APC on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.

In the recent years since the #MeToo movement, many workplaces have taken important steps to identify and eliminate sexual harassment. This includes clarifying the behaviors that define sexual harassment and taking a strong stand of zero tolerance against those who mistreat co-workers in this manner. In some cases, it may have meant a radical change in the culture of a specific workplace. As a result, reports of sexual harassment dropped nearly 40%.

Unfortunately, the complete picture is not so rosy. In fact, if you are still suffering under the mistreatment of an employer or co-worker, the statistics may mean little to you. On the other hand, you may now be experiencing the backlash of the #MeToo movement, which has left many women dealing with gender harassment on the job.

Are you experiencing backlash?

Apparently, the decline in claims of harassment on the job after the #MeToo movement disproves the myth that many women file false allegations of sexual mistreatment at work. It also shows that women understand what it means to suffer from sexual harassment, so the increase in public awareness did not increase the number of claims. However, you may now face any of the following repercussions from the recent attention sexual harassment has received in the media:

    • People in your workplace are more willing to speak openly about sexual harassment.
    • More women are now dealing with sexism on the job.
    • Men may avoid mentoring women for managerial or executive positions for fear of harassment accusations.
    • You and other women may feel you are missing out on opportunities for advancement because male executives do not want to be alone with you.

In fact, a recent poll revealed that 60% of men in management positions do not feel comfortable working with women because they fear someone will accuse them of sexual misconduct.

Your options

As complex as the situation may be, a solid employee code of conduct, thorough training and an environment of respect can establish boundaries that benefit everyone in your California workplace. It may be challenging to overcome the unreasonable fears based on misconceptions, and you may have to speak up for the good of your own career.

However, if you are dealing with a situation in which your employer allows sexism or harassment to jeopardize your future, you may wish to reach out to a sexual harassment attorney on the most appropriate options.