Sexual harassment is a problem faced by many employers. But what is less often understood is the role that company culture can play in fostering sexual harassment in the workplace – and protecting its perpetrators. Without understanding the systemic causes of sexual harassment, employers cannot adequately eradicate it within their businesses, nor protect themselves from the liability attendant to sexual harassment claims. Occupations which have been traditionally filled by a male-dominate workforce are particularly susceptible to legal claims of sexual discrimination and harassment.
The Technology Sector Becomes an Example of What Not to Do
Other male-dominated industries can learn from the legal and publicity problems faced by the technology sector. For years, Silicon Valley has been a microcosm of sexual harassment culture. Wired magazine describes the prevalence of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley as being an “open secret.” This open secret is a culture that has lasted for decades, and has not been changed by human resource policies, nor by extensive litigation and judgments against behemoth employers. The culture of male dominance is simply too pervasive to respond to a few settlements that pale in comparison to the massive profits of large tech companies. Continue reading