We need more societal pressure to stop workplace harassment

There’s a consistent theme running through the many cases of workplace sexual harassment we’ve heard about in recent weeks. In almost every instance, it’s a man with lots of power and influence behaving badly toward people with almost none at all. And in many cases, there are enablers and bystanders, people who know about the behaviour but choose to protect the perpetrator rather than help the victim.

Sometimes they may be people who are victims themselves. But in other cases, they’re those who have at least enough power to do something, including executives and board members. What’s astonishing about those people is they must either unrealistically think the offender will stop or they’re willfully allowing other people to get hurt.

For the dynamics to change, we need more societal pressure to stop harassment and other bad behaviour. We need it to be the equivalent of taking the keys away from a drunk person who’s about to drive. Until people are held to account for turning a blind eye to or even covering up the behaviour of others, then workplaces and other environments will not truly be safe.

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