Each day in the media we hear new allegations of sexual harassment and assault. These accounts are far ranging, from movie sets in Hollywood, Calif., to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., to the gymnastics programs at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University in the Midwest.
The #metoo and #timesup movement has exploded on social media as women come forward to say that they, too, have been victims. This is a serious problem across the country.
But what if someone looked at this issue within the RV industry?
It would be foolish to believe that this is not a problem. Because the industry is predominately male and often described as a “Good Ol’ Boys” club, it would be naïve to believe that there aren’t problems that exist at shows, conferences and at the office.
What should the response be if you encounter, hear of, or experience harassment?
One thing is for sure: It should not be covered up or dealt with behind the scenes without a proper process in place. Victims should not question whether they should come forward because they fear career or personal repercussions. And they should not feel guilt.
Instead, they should document, document, document.
The topic of harassment will be addressed in the March issue of RV PRO.
It also raises the question: What is your company’s sexual harassment policy? It should be a part of every code of conduct handbook. It is an important question and could be the difference between your business encountering a lawsuit or acting promptly to determine a course of action.
Companies and associations need to have policies in place, but unless the behavior and character change, then we are being reactive as opposed to proactive.
How can an industry be proactive? Well, everyone is personally responsible for their own actions. When that line is crossed and there is an opportunity to stand up and say something, then it is time to do what is right.
Address it, take it seriously, let the process take place and call this what it is: Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. If there is no process, create one.
To help, consult an HR expert. Have a detailed code of conduct.