The #MeToo movement threw sexual harassment and assault into the spotlight. The rise of the use of the hashtag represented just the surface of the movement. In reality, the campaign was a cultural shift that made it acceptable, and encouraged, to frankly discuss and denounce workplace harassment.
Our most readily available statistics tell the story. Sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, increased by more than 13 percent last year after the movement went viral in October 2017. Meanwhile, companies across the U.S. launched their own programs to address and prevent sexual harassment in their own workplaces.
That brings us to today — or, rather, to Oct. 7, when AGC of Washington will be hosting its own Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Prevention seminar in Yakima. The truth is, even with the increase in complaints and cases filed, the number of unreported incidents still outweighs those that come to light. That’s probably true by a huge margin, as the EEOC estimates only 15-20% of workers who experience sexual harassment go on to report it.
Our training is designed to put a stop to harassing behavior before it ever gets to that point. There’s a multi-sided benefit to having this kind of information on your side. Ethically speaking, it’s vital to maintain a safe workplace where all employees can do their best work; from the business angle, it’s imperative that firms understand harassment and discrimination so they can operate efficiently while avoiding costly, time-consuming claims.
This is the event to cover all those bases. With the help of expert Karen Galipeau Forner, the founder and managing member of K-Solutions Law in Bellevue, we’ll learn how harassment is defined in the modern workplace and what legal protections employees can expect. And most importantly, we’ll learn how to shape workplace policies and procedures to curb unwanted behaviors in the office and on the job site.
Forner speaks to these issues from a long professional background in the field. She worked at the Washington Attorney General’s Office from 1993-2007, serving as program advisor for the state’s Industrial Discrimination Programs as well as the Workers’-Compensation Self-Insurance Program. As a litigator, she handled complex cases related to those programs and others.
The event begins at 12 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, in the third-floor conference room of the Larson Building in Yakima. Click through to the event page for more details and registration information.