By Derek Hall | Phoenix Business Journal
Last year, the #MeToo movement burst on to the scene as scores of women described sexual harassment they had experienced, in many cases while at work.
The question is whether that would spill over into more legal actions against co-workers and employers as a result of the movement aimed to give women a voice in speaking out against sexual harassment.
The answers, according to two area law firms, paints a mixed portrait in the Valley of what has come in the wake of #MeToo and whether it has increased legal action.
Leon Silver, co-managing partner, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani
What types of cases have you seen an increase in as a result of the #MeToo movement? Is it primarily sexual harassment claims?
We have not experienced any significant uptick in cases as a result of #MeToo.
Can you elaborate on how an increase in cases might help individuals and the way they are treated?
We are hopeful that the long term result of the #MeToo movement will be to teach companies the importance of providing an inclusive, harassment-free work environment.
What are you recommending to your clients in these types of cases?
We promote both a legal and a cultural strategy to preventing sexual harassment in our clients’ workplaces. The legal response is to implement policies that provide an employee a safe place to report and a meaningful response from the company, free from any [incidences] of retaliation. The cultural strategy is to foster a work culture that is not only harassment free but will not tolerate harassment in any form. Perhaps it is because we offer this type of training to our clients on a regular basis, and because we provide them with policies that work, that we have not seen any uptick in claims.
In one response to our poll, one law firm said they’ve seen an increase in cases where they are representing “good men who have falsely been accused of bad acts by women with scandalous economic motivations.” Have you seen a similar type of increase, and what would be your response to this? We do not agree with this observation in any manner or form.
Jordan Rose, Rose Law Group
What types of cases have you seen an increase in as a result of the #MeToo movement?
In these cases where you are representing men, are they typically facing sexual harassment claims? While the #MeToo movement has been terrific in promoting respect in the workplace, as a woman, it’s highly disappointing to see even one case where it appears allegations are just entirely fabricated to extort money from successful men.
How significant has this increase in the number of cases been?\Before #MeToo there was not much activity. After #MeToo it seems like we hear more from men who are facing questionable claims from many years ago.
Are you aware of any statistics related to this?