It feels like a lifetime of misery. Going to work every day and having to work side by side with a co-worker who deems it a personal game to see how much sexual harassment you can take. He knows he won’t be reprimanded. He’s done this for years with various co-workers who were previously in your place and moved on to bigger and better things, hopefully. He knows it’s against company policy and it’s against the law, but he seems perfectly content with feeling virtually untouchable. Why shouldn’t he? He’s gotten away with it this long.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is nothing new, but technology being used to combat it is. Many victims feel uneasy about reporting the illegal behavior to their human resources departments (HR) because they know that once they do, there may be repercussions such as job loss to cover it up or being ostracized by co-workers who are friends of your assailant. Your abuser may retaliate against you for getting him or her into trouble, and the worst part is that you have no control over any of it once you file a formal complaint with HR.
New technology startups are trying to make a positive impact on the process of reporting sexual harassment to help alleviate fears of reporting, and to minimize instances of harassment to begin with. Take a look at four new companies trying to make workplaces better places.
Artificial intelligence may not be so artificial after all
Vantage Point takes a new approach to teaching employees about sexual harassment through situational awareness using virtual reality. Psychological rewards are being used for engaging in positive actions by showing the employee how it positively affects the situation and environment when he or she makes the right choice. Vantage Point requires that employees engage with the program, which has the end result of more information being retained. Data from the program actually shows an employee’s empathy level.
Imagine that employers may potentially be able to build a case to weed out a bad employee who poses a danger to safety or morale based on what amounts to a video game. It’s a slippery slope, but so is continuing to employ someone who places a company at repeated risk for a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Those annoying chat bots may prove useful
Spot is an app that utilizes chat bot technology to guide anonymous interviews about sexual harassment events. Using computer generated interviewing eliminates human-biased questions and reactions that can alter facts and details as victims present them. Victims may withhold or edit information out of fear of being judged or not believed, based on feedback from personal interactions with an HR member investigating the facts.
Employees who are making reports may also become nervous and forget important details when face to face with a human asking questions, even with notes in front of them. Spot has been shown to increase accurate reporting by 40% simply by allowing victims to reduce their paralyzing fear of sitting in front of a person explaining a traumatic series of events.
Fostering a healthy work environment leads to increased profits
Bravely is using the safety of anonymity to increase actions taken by companies when there are employee relationship issues. It boils down to what’s best for employees is also best for the company. When employees are experiencing issues such as sexual harassment, it affects work performance, which damages the company’s bottom line. Workers feeling safe about resolving behavioral issues at work begins before approaching HR.
Affected employees are paired up with certified coaches, experienced HR partners outside their company, and a corporate ombudsman who all work with the employee to design a plan to resolve the sexual harassment (or other issue). It pauses the direct contact with your HR department until you are confident about how to make your official report.
In an ideal world, sexual harassment in the workplace would be swiftly dealt with by HR. Your aggressor would be appropriately punished, you would be able to work without the constant stress of being harassed, and life would happily move forward. Unfortunately, that’s not typically how it works. Taylor & Ring understands that a strong message about workplace sexual harassment sometimes needs to be sent to your assailant as well as your employer.
We will educate you on every available avenue of legal protection for your situation, and we will fight with you every step of the way during the process. Our skilled and compassionate sexual harassment attorneys are ready to support you. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 310-776-6390, or tell us your story by reaching out to us through our contact form. We proudly serve clients all across California.