‘Gender Segregation’: New Report Reveals a Massive #MeToo Downside for Women in Business

Activists participate in the 2018 #MeToo March on November 10, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

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.

What do you think?

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Neal Mcclung
Member
Neal Mcclung

HA HA ! Serves these women right’ It is called unintended consequences. All of this political correctness has gone crazy and out of kilter. PC needs to be kicked in the behind permanently and let society handle things the way it was for millions of years. The smart people and… Read more »

Lizzie Helmer
Editor

It’s unfair to women workers that men’s ability to be with their coworkers hurts the women and not the guys that refuse to collaborate, travel, etc. Instead of avoidance, companies need to thoroughly explain and train employees on sexual harassment. This effect is for sure a downside, but in my… Read more »

Matthew
Member
Matthew

And what about the female ‘creeps’ who make false accusations with little to no ramifications, because ‘she’s a woman?’ The accused will have their lives destroyed, and the woman gets to walk.

TOM
Member
TOM

Once again only “women” have rights???

Bruce
Member
Bruce

OMG Lizzie! Collaborate? Have you not seen what happens to men who “collaborate”?

Donald
Member
Donald

I have long advocated that no employer should attempt to “prohibit” consensual dating between staff members, after the workday has completed. To do so is a violation of Civil Rights, of privacy and free association. You can add Constitutional Rights, if the employer is a government agency.

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

So….male/female workplace encounters present exposure to charges of harassment. Not allowing these interactions presents the hazard of discrimination. *sigh* How about having chaperones? It will up the company’s expenses, but save on attorney’s fees. I’m sure HR will jump at the chance to be present at ALL interactions as part… Read more »

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

This is why just understanding where lines are and how to handle things when a line is crossed is important. Not every crossed line is a sexual harrassment lawsuit. People just need to get better at speaking up – even informally – before things get to that point. There are… Read more »

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

An overreaction in the wrong direction for some companies then. There are better ways to make sure everyone in the company knows where the line is and how to address things when a line has been crossed. I haven’t noticed anything different in my travel or company policy. However, we… Read more »

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

We live in fraught times, but even were it not so I’d question the idea of opposite-sex coworkers sharing a room. Of course, homosexual and transgender allowances only complicate things. e.g. a company rooming a man-who-believes he’s a woman with an actual woman. Hmmm.

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

It is really odd to me, but I have never worked at a smaller company before.

I was also thinking about all the potential ways that could go wrong with LGBT employees. Probably cheaper and less risky in the long run just to get people their own rooms.

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

It would be the simpler and cheaper solution. AND wouldn’t hurt any feelings. Privacy is a thing. On the other hand, it is a shame that “innocent” activities like mentoring and one-on-one meetings are now invitations to lawsuits. *sigh* Call out the HR chaperones. I’m old enough to remember going… Read more »

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

Thats not so much an age thing. I’ve gone to happy hour and dinner with another male colleague plenty of times.

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

…ah, but will you claim improprieties or sexual assault? Gauging your maturity and real-world attitudes I think not unless something actually happens. Sorry to say that there are those NOT like you, who might file claims because they didn’t get what they wanted in compensation, raises, etc. It has happened.

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

I would not unless there was a valid reason to – if I was actually assaulted then i would hope that I would most certainly say something. There ARE crazy people who falsely accuse or even exaggerate a minor offense. But I’d bet there is also a healthy number of… Read more »

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

I’d argue that are a healthy number of appropriate, platonic, professional interactions that are going to be stifled by #METOO.

Perhaps one day a happy medium will be found where men/wymmin can interact as respectful, professional adults WITHOUT suspicions or accusations. Teleconferencing/Skype?

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

That I would agree with. A medium will be found and most adults are probably already happily able to interact with their co workers. I do not think that women being more willing to speak up about things that happened to them where there was legitimate problems is a bad… Read more »

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

I agree. Speaking in one’s defense is never a bad thing BUT I think the reception it receives has changed drastically, and maybe too much. q.v. false claims. Just as with claims of campus sexual assault I think fairness requires hearing the claims and working due process. Unfortunately businesses are… Read more »

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

I don’t have an answer on it. I know wanting proof sounds like the right answer, but a lot of time there is no actual proof even when something bad really did happen. Requiring potentially accused to have to begin recording or wearing body cameras is just as implausible as… Read more »

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

I think it’s too bad. As the WSJ has noted more than a few companies are either not hiring women out of paranoia or segregating their interactions with male colleagues. A point was also made that even promotions might be viewed less as merited and more as “what did she… Read more »

TOM
Member
TOM

I remember the days of being to go to lunch with a female coworker without accusations or suspicions also.

Sam Dorman
Editor

Wow, this is super interesting to hear about the unintended consequences of this type of movement.

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

Unintended consequences indeed. To each action there’s a reaction and not always the one anticipated.

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