Welcome to Compli’s year-end blog countdown! To mark the end of 2018, we’re taking a look back at our most popular blog posts over the last 12 months—the articles you read, shared, and emailed us about the most this year.
For the Compli blog team, this year was a fun and exciting one. Yes, I just described writing about workforce compliance as fun and exciting—because it has been! We covered timely, important topics such as workplace discrimination, the current job market, and shake-ups in our nation’s capital. We wrote about employee protests, safety issues, and legal conflicts at global organizations like Google, McDonald’s, and the Campbell Soup Company. We delved deep into harassment, termination, handbooks, and automation. We even “filmed” a “trailer” for the Compliance Monsters movie, coming “soon” to a “theater” near you.
So we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you—our readers, customers, partners, followers, and friends—for giving us the opportunity to explore the human side of compliance in a fresh, enjoyable, and (hopefully) entertaining way. Thank you for joining us on the journey this year. If you like where we’ve gone so far, I think you’ll enjoy where we’re planning to go in 2019.
Anyway, without further ado (and because everyone skips past these introductions anyway), let’s get to it. Here are our top 3 posts of the year—drumroll, please…
Dismissal isn’t fun for anyone. Certainly, many of us have experienced the pain of being fired or laid off at some point during our careers, but it’s no breezy meeting for the person on the other side of the table, either. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to terminate an employee, you’re probably familiar with the stomach-churning feeling that comes before telling someone that they’ve failed to do their job and need to pack up their things.
That feeling, it turns out, isn’t too different from the one you’re likely to experience after learning that said individual is suing you for wrongful termination. And in that scenario, it’s not just a difficult conversation hanging over your head, but the potential to lose a whole lot of money.
Whatever it looks like, wherever it occurs, harassment takes a massive toll—not only on those who experience it, but the organizations for which they work. In 2016, more than 6,700 charges of sexual harassment were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In that year, the EEOC obtained more than $40.7 million dollars in monetary benefits on behalf of sexually harassed employees. Keep in mind that that statistic doesn’t include the millions of dollars obtained by harassed employees through litigation. And, for the victim, there are also less visible, indirect costs incurred by harassment, including reputational harm, missed opportunities, mental health issues, and physical health problems.
If you’ve been following the news or paying attention to your social media feeds, you probably know much of this already. But sexual harassment, the kind the #TimesUp and #MeToo campaigns seek to address, is only one type of harassment. Workplace harassment based on race, disability, age, religion, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation can occur just as frequently, and in the eyes of the law, it’s just as serious.
A lot has changed in the past year. Although the fight against sexual assault and sexual harassment didn’t start in October 2017—workplace harassment of any sort has been illegal since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—it appears that the original viral spread of the #MeToo marks a turning point in U.S. history. I’m not just referring to the raised awareness of the issues, but genuine legislation. Numerous state governments have already adopted regulations inspired by #MeToo. In the State of New York, for instance, sweeping new anti-harassment laws took effect in October.
Next up: California.
Not to be outdone by New York, Golden State lawmakers have proposed a number of measures over the past few months aimed at addressing workplace harassment, empowering alleged victims, and holding employers to greater standards of accountability. And right around the anniversary of the #MeToo movement (or at least the popularly recognized anniversary), Governor Jerry Brown signed not 1, not 2, but 7 anti-harassment bills into law.