The #MeToo movement started last fall with claims of sexual harassment and rape against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Before long, dark shadows were cast over other powerful men - from entertainment personalities Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Russell Simmons and James Franco to politicians Al Franken and Roy Moore.
Although any accusation typically gets more publicity when a celebrity is involved, sexual misconduct occurs in all walks of life. What will you do - and should you do - as a veterinary practice owner or manager if an employee lodges harassment claims? What if the employee joins the #MeToo movement and goes onto social media to name names at your hospital?
If your team has a sexual harasser, your practice may be one complaint away from a disaster. How should your practice respond to the multilayered issue of sexual harassment? Do you know how to respond to complaints and proactively protect your practice?
Knowledge Is Power
First, take a good, hard look at your hospital's sexual harassment training program and be honest with yourself. What is the quality of the program and how much effort do you put into it? If the program isn't as well thought out and implemented as it could be and should be, you're not alone, but improving it must be a priority. The training must pay more than lip service to the issue and must not be only a way to limit your liability if or when a complaint occurs.