The #metoo movement is the latest wave to bring awareness to the need for protection against harassing behavior. With all the support of this movement, its impact is extensive.
In fact, though it started in the entertainment industry, it has also brought light to harassment and discrimination instances in the general workplace. Though it has positive intentions, this movement may possibly come with negative results as well.
More people have gained confidence in their being heard and respected. As a result, employees now report workplace harassment and discrimination. Considering the #metoo movement has been largely female spearheaded, many cases are regarding the unfair treatment of women; however, more men have come forward as well. In efforts to address or prevent such reports, many companies have refined and presented their harassment and anti-discrimination policies.
There may be some unexpected consequences of the movement, particularly in the workplace. In short, the lines for harassment may not be as clear in some geographic areas or industries, particularly where many people may not find certain treatment demeaning. For example, in the South where it is not uncommon for someone to call another person, even a stranger, “sweetie” or “hun,” such acts may be offensive to someone unaccustomed to it. As such, some employers or management may be unsure of what standards would be acceptable to certain parties, which may cause them to avoid situations where such issues may arise, i.e. not hiring or advancing as many females.
The negative consequences to this positive progression in gender equality and respect stems from a grey area that some management personnel may have in regards to acceptable employee treatment. To avoid this, it would be wise for management to refer to and abide by employee laws set by the government. These laws are in place to create a fair and equal work environment for all, regardless of gender.
The impact of the #metoo movement is here to stay. How companies deal with it is a critical decision that should not be made lightly, and will probably require adjustments as companies determine and implement the best solutions for them.