HR in the wake of sex abuse scandals
Tuesday 7 November 2017
DR FRANCINE Morris, lecturer in People Management at the University of Salford Business School, offers advice for businesses and HR managers in the wake of sexual abuse revelations in Hollywood and Parliament in the last few weeks.
Francine said: “Stories of sexual abuse in the workplace have been dominating the headlines for the past week. We all expect details of another politician or movie mogul every time we click on to a news app. The news coming from Hollywood and Westminster is highlighting serious problems but it is important to consider the knock on effect these revelations have for ordinary workers in ordinary organisations.
“HR professionals across the UK will be expected to react expediently to the revelations. The process of adaption to what Teresa May has labelled a new ‘culture of respect’ could mean that broad bullying and harassment policies claiming zero tolerance are insufficient. Policy writers will have to look more forensically at different types and levels of harassment to determine how a grope at the staff xmas party compares with a badly worded text message.
“Line managers at the operational coal face will have to be trained to cope with a potential upsurge in complaints around highly sensitive and personal issues. Organisations that do not have HR departments will need to seek new channels of help and support to help them tackle behaviours that have become acceptable norms. After all these behaviours are not new - Hollywood has been known for operating ‘casting couch’ recruitment practices for decades! One suggestion is that organisations look to trade unions for support, putting aside embedded and antagonistic relationships for the sake of worker protection.”