Hundreds of Business Leaders Face Accusations in #MeToo Movement
A new reports finds the #MeToo movement over the last 18 months has opened the door to allegations against 417 high-profile employees and corporate executives, Bloomberg reports. The majority of those individuals are business leaders and executives—410 of them are men—from a wide array of industries, according to the report by crisis consulting firm Temin & Co.
Many of the allegations stem from incidents that happened years ago, but have only recently come to light. And while the rate of accusations has slowed recently, the percentage of individuals fired has increased.
“It started to become a tsunami, certainly after [Harvey] Weinstein, and it sparked other stories in the same industry and then across all industries,” said Davia Temin, president and CEO of Temin & Co. “I think it’s settled into a new plateau, but it is certainly higher than we’ve ever had before.”
Of the 417 high-profile individuals who were accused of issues related to sexual harassment, racial insensitivity, or other misconduct, 193 were fired, and 122 were either suspended, put on leave, or are having their actions investigated.
Implications for Boards: Workplace misconduct—particularly if it is pervasive or involves a senior executive—can pose significant risks to a company. The board should ensure that the company establishes policies that apply to all levels of the company and appropriately guard employees from undue retaliation. Directors should also review the effectiveness of internal reporting mechanisms. If a robust crisis response plan does not currently include details for a #MeToo scenario, the board should ensure the development of such a plan, including roles and responsibilities for the board and management.
Key Questions Directors Should Ask: Are the company’s policies around employee misconduct published and easily accessible to employees, clearly delineating what types of behavior are unacceptable? Do employees have a mechanism by which to report misconduct without fear of retaliation? Are our stated behavioral policies consistently applied to all bad actors, or are unfair exceptions made for strong performers or senior leaders? Are there patterns of misconduct that are indicative of a broader systemic issue within our company, and how could we be sure?
NACD Resources: NACD’s Director FAQ: Risk Oversight—Sexual Misconduct offers board-level guidance on strengthening oversight related to this important issue. The brief provides information for directors on understanding associated risks, evaluating the effectiveness of company practices, and asking probing questions of management. Two NACD blog posts also tackle board oversight of sexual misconduct: “It’s Time to Get Uncomfortable in the Boardroom” and “Culture and ESG Governance: Inseparable In the #MeToo Era.”
Related NACD Event: Learn about the elements of exceptional work environments from Humu Inc. CEO Laszlo Bock at the 2018 Global Board Leaders' Summit, Sept. 29–Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C. Register by midnight tonight to receive early bird savings.
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Have a great weekend, and thank you for your commitment to boardroom excellence.
The NACD Team