Just over 2 years ago, American Actress Alyssa Milano posted the original #MeToo tweet to draw attention to the number of women impacted by sexual harassment and abuse. The movement swept around Hollywood, toppling media monoliths, and around the rest of the world exposing the prevalence of sexual harassment, especially in the workplace. 

This week we’ll be writing five posts to summarise some of the key lessons HR professionals should take from the #MeToo movement to protect their employees and the business.

First, the background…

Under English employment law, sexual harassment is defined as engaging in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating the subject’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. 

Some industries have acquired a particularly bad reputation for tolerating, or even promoting, a culture where sexual harassment regularly takes place. In November, hospitality and the financial services industries were both in the spotlight, with McDonalds being sued in a class action in the US over systemic sexual harassment of female workers, and a whistle-blower at a London based wealth management firm alleging a culture of systemic sexism. However, no business, whatever the size or industry, is immune from the risk of sexual harassment being committed by its employees. 

Check out our post tomorrow for our practical tips to help build a workplace culture where sexual harassment is not tolerated.