The Weinstein case impacts companies: remedies

The Weinstein case impacts companies: remedies

Edited by Salvatore Trifirò and Paolo Zucchinali

Media have extensively reported the Weinstein case and have triggered debates over the propriety and toleration of certain conducts in show business and at the workplace in general.

The question raised, however, is the following: what is to change at the workplace? Are looks to be banned, alongside flirtation? And how does that fit in with gender equality?

In America, companies are scrambling to draw up new rules of conduct at the workplace. The concern of companies is also that where the offence is subject to the statute of limitation, it is still actionable under civil law.

The prosecution of the State of New York indicted Harvey Weinstein (the brother) and his company “for not having protected the employees from the sexual conduct” of the heads of the company “in spite of the numerous claims addressed to the human resources department.”

The contractual clauses of confidentiality that prevent workers who leave the company to report on sexual misconduct are also at issue.

Some have suggested the creation of a toll free number to report sexual harassment. Others suggest to inform the public of the cases. Some Italian companies have introduced a “confidential advisor” for workers who want to report cases of sexual harassment.

In Italy, the recent publication of  new protection for whistleblowers would also go to some length towards improving safety of conduct at the workplace.

Lastly, and beyond the fancy talks, the legal system must call on the most experienced judicial competence to help companies draw up new rules, based on case law on the issue at hand.

Only clear rules of conduct, shared by all, and designed to protect the working community (employers, female and male workers alike) may prevent conflicts,  introduce a new culture, and improve performance and work quality.

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