The prestigious International In-house Counsel Journal has published our article, “Sexual Misconduct: Lessons Learned from Investigations in the Workplace.” “Since the Fall of 2017, in the wake of the burgeoning #MeToo movement,” the article begins, “outside investigators have been called on to gather the facts in response to an avalanche of sexual misconduct allegations in workplaces.”
The essay appears in the journal’s summer 2019 issue, and is written by Mintz Group partner Staci Dresher, who is also associate general counsel and is based in our San Francisco office; London-based partner Kelsey Froehlich; and Clancy Nolan, a director in New York. It sets out to illustrate “a few of the insights we have gained in our work” on sexual misconduct, such as:
- “The most important step in addressing sexual misconduct is to identify potentially problematic employees and potential reputational concerns – even if ultimately unsubstantiated – up front, during pre-hire vetting. This requires going deeper than tick-the-box background checks.
- Be prepared for new allegations to emerge about an employee at the moment he or she is being promoted or becomes a public face of the company.
- The #MeToo movement started with allegations about sexual predations, and has grown to encompass complaints about consensual relationships between work colleagues.
- It is vital to treat accusers, the accused and other knowledgeable parties with respect and to use a neutral tone – without prejudging.”
On that last point, the paper said: “In this era of #MeToo, as investigators and due-diligence professionals are called on to help companies mitigate…risks, an investigation can just as easily identify a sexual predator as it could end up lifting clouds of suspicion from embattled individuals. These are not two opposing tasks, but one: unearthing the most factual information available to help people navigate risk in a changing world.”