11 steps that you can take now to reduce harassment in your workplace

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By Derek Jensen (Tysto) – Own work, Public Domain, Link

That sounds more “glass-half-full” than “Don’t be like the Dallas Mavericks: 11 ways to avoid a Sports Illustrated report chronicling twenty years of allegations of sexual harassment and mismanagement in your workplace.

Yeah, I’m comfortable with the title of today’s blog post.

A quick recap of yesterday’s post.

If you hung around yesterday, you got yourself a primer on the anatomy of a workplace investigation report. And not just any report, I’m talking about this 43-page report, which followed an independent workplace investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and mismanagement spanning twenty years within the Dallas Mavericks organization.

If that sounds like a lot of ground to cover, it is. Investigators spent seven months interviewing 215 individuals (including every current employee of the Dallas Mavericks) and reviewing over 1.6 million documents.

Today, we’re going to focus on the outside investigators’ recommendations to improve the workplace within the Dallas Mavericks organization.  What you’ll find is that many of the recommendations trace their roots to the EEOC’s Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, which I detailed in a 2016 blog post. Those that do are not unique to the Dallas Mavericks.

Here are 11 of the recommendations that you can implement at your workplace to reduce harassment.

(I took these directly from the Mavericks Report.)

  1. Increase the number of women throughout the organization, including in leadership and supervisory positions.
  2. Improve formal harassment reporting processes and create new paths for victims to report misconduct.
  3. Evaluate, and hold accountable, all executives, managers, and supervisors on their efforts to eliminate harassment and improve diversity of all kinds throughout the organization.
  4. Conduct anonymous workplace culture and sexual harassment climate surveys on a regular basis to understand the culture of the organization and whether problems exist.
  5. Establish clear hierarchies and lines of decision-making authority within the organization.
  6. Strengthen and expand Human Resources, and implement clear protocols and processes for evaluating and adjudicating workplace misconduct issues. This should include providing clear communication to employees on the anti-harassment policy and how to report harassment.
  7. Provide “prompt and proportionate” and “consistent” discipline across the organization when harassment or misconduct has been substantiated.
  8. Provide regular training for all employees on sexual harassment (including bystander intervention training), and special training directed at managers and supervisors. Leaders across the Company should participate in the trainings and take an active leadership role in providing trust and safety in the workplace.
  9. Adopt clear, transparent, office-wide processes for hiring, onboarding, promotions, lateral transfers, performance evaluations, salary increases, and discipline within the organization. This should include centralizing key employment functions within the Human Resources department.
  10. Collect and use data to add value to the Company and to identify weaknesses.
  11. Require that all leaders, managers, and supervisors engage in efforts to improve workplace culture and to ensure a diverse, inclusive workplace.

Indeed, new Mavericks CEO, Cynt Marshall wasted little time announcing changes within the organization, such as modeling zero tolerance and creating a “Mavs Women’s Playbook.” The Mavericks also hosted a “Culture Transformation Press Conference” Additionally, a league release confirms that “the Mavericks have replaced or added several new leadership positions in the organization, including a new head of Human Resources, a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, a head of Diversity & Inclusion and a new General Counsel.”

It’s a good start. But, the franchise has a long way to go.

The Message to Management.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Eric, this all sounds great. But, this must cost a lot of money. And getting my company to fund these changes, well, let’s just say I’m skeptical.”

I hear you.

That’s why your conversation with management has to be in a language that management understands. And that’s dollars and cents.

Go back to the EEOC Task Force Report. While you’ll find is that there is a compelling business case for stopping and preventing harassment.

  • Costs of harassment transcend legal.
  • Victims experience mental, physical, and economic harm.
  • Decreased productivity, increased turnover, and reputational harm.
  • All of this is a drag on performance – and the bottom-line.

 

 

 

 

Thus, what you’re selling is an investment in the company’s future. Invest some money now to avoid spending a lot more to clean up a Dallas-sized mess.

 

 

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”