The #MeToo movement was supposed to empower women, but it may be having the opposite effect in the workplace.
According to a new report by Bloomberg, businesses are becoming hyperaware of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, but their actions are only holding women back further.
The report says that many companies have done away with one-on-one meetings between coworkers of the opposite sex, booking rooms in separate hotels for business travel, and banning dinners with female colleagues.
All of this is happening because companies are afraid of sexual harassment allegations.
“It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, told Bloomberg.
Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison, explained to Bloomberg how this segregation could hurt women’s chances of progressing in the workplace and make companies liable for discrimination.
“If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”
According to the report, some of the men have a fear of being falsely accused of sexual harassment. They see the gender isolation as the only precaution they can take to ensure they cannot be accused of something they didn’t do.
Although the #MeToo movement started out to draw attention to the problem of sexual harassment, some fear that it has gone too far.
One of the major criticisms of the movement is related to due process for the accused. This played out on the national stage during the confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Several accusations came forward with almost no corroborative evidence. Some of the accusers even admitted they stretched the facts and gave false statements to the Senate investigators. Still, many wanted to block the judge’s confirmation.
Clearly, the next step for the #MeToo movement will need to be finding the balance to ensure that women are protected without being isolated.