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Preventing Harassment in the Age of Social Media and Corporate Chat

On November 1st, 2018 more than 1000 Google employees from Japan to San Francisco protested what they say is a workplace culture that has overlooked sexual harassment and discrimination situations within the company. These demonstrations are in response to years of sexual harassment allegations, multimillion-dollar severance packages for accused executives, and a perceived total lack of transparency over the cases.

The #MeToo movement spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, particularly in the workplace.

These are but two examples of a spotlight on the recent mountain of harassment claims made by victims. Sexual harassment in the workplace, unfortunately, is all too common and is devastating to the individuals experiencing it. It also has substantial adverse effects on the companies’ where this abhorrent behaviour takes place.


The Costs of Harassment

A very well researched HR blog by ERC found the following notable statistics:

  • 6,870 - the number of sexual harassment complaints lodged with the EEOC in 2015.
  • $75,000–$125,000 - the cost of the average harassment claim to an organization,  assuming that the claim is settled out of court.
  • $6.7 million - the amount lost per year by the average Fortune 500 company due to sexual harassment.

This article also shared the following stat:

  • If an employer loses summary judgment (which, much more often than not, is the case), the employer can expect to spend a total of $175,000 to $250,000 to take a case to a jury verdict at trial.

The terrible cost of sexual harassment in the workplace is vast, both for affected individuals and also to the companies where it takes place. There are substantial financial losses, not to mention the cost of reputational losses which affect hiring, employee engagement, and team cohesion.

The Risks of Corporate Social Media Adoption

With the widespread adoption of social media, companies were quick to notice the massive marketing opportunity for advertising products and services to prospective clients. Social media allowed them to interact with prospects in an entirely new and personal way.

Most companies now have a presence on most or all of the major social media networks. As an extension to public social media, providers such as Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce and Slack now provide companies with the opportunity to better communicate internally. Corporate chats / corporate social media, or what is also known as enterprise social media networks are now being adopted en masse.

Corporate social media software or chat platforms like Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, or Salesforce Chatter are incredibly useful collaboration tools that can take a business to the next level. These platforms will also carry the imminent risk of sexual harassment and cyberbullying situations occurring in a way that's hidden from the public eye.


Preventing the Risks of Harassment Internally  

If your team is considering the adoption of one of these corporate chat platforms (or you already have adopted one), ensuring the protection of your employees must be paramount. Imagine a scenario where an employee engages in the sexual harassment of another on your corporate chat. Soon after making a comment, they delete it. Now the situation is a he-said-she-said scenario that often results in a miscarriage injustice and an HR nightmare. This can be easily be prevented.

To prevent this, you need a system in place which will allow for social media monitoring and an easily retrievable legal archive which provides a real-time capture of all edited and deleted messages or posts.

PageFreezer is a leading archiving solution for corporate social media networks and has technical integrations with most leading providers including Workplace by Facebook, Salesforce Chatter and many other leading platforms.

Take a look at PageFreezer's features here and get in touch to see how we can help you prevent the risks and damaging costs of harassment in the workplace.

This guest blog was written by our Director of  Financial Services Sales, Trent Mason.

Connect with Trent on Linkedin. 


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