So, this is the message we all received here in the New York City office this past week:
“New York State Law requires that employers of one or more employees must conduct anti-sexual harassment training for all employees. Completion of this training is MANDATORY for our company to be in compliance with New York law. Starting today, you can complete the online 45-minute training. Please complete by September 30th, 2019, training link sent in an email. Thank you! – People Operations Team”
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with anti sexual harassment training. It’s creating an online training that shows with words, images, and sound what sexual harassment is and explains why it is not acceptable. What bothers me, though, about practices like this that “woke” tech companies want to require their employees to do is that in the event of sexual harassment, everything they teach you during these trainings doesn’t really apply. Here’s a case in point: this training, which I completed, says that you do not need to have written or video proof to file a sexual harassment claim. Now, while that is true, what *is* your proof — your words against your accuser? The less documented proof you have, the weaker your case is, and therefore, your company isn’t going to take it as seriously. And even the more subtle it is, the more “grey area” there is, and therefore, the accuser is always going to be in the weaker position. That’s why most sexual assault victims or victims of discrimination never come out: they will not only be unlikely to win, but they will also suffer as a result of their coming out and continue to suffer retaliation… even when companies claim that it’s illegal. Google is a respected household name when it comes to tech companies, but it hasn’t prevented them from their own discrimination and retaliation cases, has it?
Even in an age of #MeToo, sexual assault perpetrators like Brett Kavanaugh get confirmed to the highest court of the land and get away with their acts of violence and hate, whereas accusers who are so brave in dealing with getting endless death threats and not being able to leave their own home like Christine Blasey Ford are shamed and looked down upon. So all of this is why I think these anti harassment trainings are just done merely to check off a box as opposed to effect any real, tangible change in any of the companies we work in. It’s all just a facade that we’re trying to do the right thing, but we’re really not.