Monday, January 29, 2018

SNL tackles #MeToo, but what should you do when employees discuss #MeToo at work?

How do you discuss sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct with your friends and colleagues?

Saturday Night Live, in one of its most brilliant sketches in a long time, offers a suggestion.

Or, rather, a suggestion not to have the conversation at all.

But can you prohibit your employees from discussing #MeToo in the workplace?

Maybe. Or Maybe not.

It likely depends on whether employees are offering a general political viewpoint, or discussing a incident specific to your workplace.

If it’s the former (a general viewpoint on #MeToo, or society’s reaction to the movement, or allegations levied against a celebrity), then you are probably on solid ground implementing a halt to any such discussions, as private sector employees do not enjoy many free speech rights at work.

If it’s the latter (a discussion about the specific incident at work), a gag order likely violates Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision.

How are you handling #MeToo conversations in your workplace? Let me know in the comments below, or on LinkedIn at this link.