As the calendar flips from January into February and the year is still young, the environment in the workplace, golf businesses among them, will become more uncertain as it progresses.
In Ottawa, members of both the Liberal and Conservative parties were facing allegations of misconduct towards women, while in Ontario, the leader of the Opposition stepped down after facing similar allegations.
“I don’t have a rule book that’s been handed down to me from Wilfrid Laurier as leader of the Liberal party on how to handle these situations,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on how to deal with the allegations within his own party.
One would think the government would take a leading role in the wake of the widespread allegations that have surfaced from the #MeToo movement these past few months. It’s not like this is anything new considering Trudeau suspended two Liberal MPs in 2014 after two female New Democrat MPs complained of misconduct.
So, if the governing party doesn’t have its act together on this subject, what about businesses, for purposes of this blog those that operate within the golf industry? With high-profile politicians, actors and movie moguls being called out of late, can we assume it can’t take place in all businesses?
Rather than wait for the government to lead the way on this subject, the time is now for golf businesses to construct policies dealing with the issues and those codes of conduct, processes and procedures may be ever-evolving as time goes on, which emphasizes the important of seeking professional guidance in putting it together.
This week’s GNN Poll asks readers if their places of employment would consult legal/human resources experts in formulating a sexual misconduct policy, or try to save money by attempting to do it internally without consultation.
As of this writing, 54 per cent of respondents said their workplaces would likely do it without expert consultation, with 46 per cent saying with expert consultation.
If you haven’t done so already, you can cast your vote on the GNN home page.
Trudeau says he’ll go on a case-by-case basis, adding the first consideration must be belief and support for those who make the complaints about misconduct.
The goal of the #MeToo Movement is an admirable one. Nobody in the workplace should feel harassed, bullied, exploited, ridiculed or coerced into doing something they don’t want to do, so all complaints need to be taken seriously.
There needs to be balance, however. Whatever happened to presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Many of the allegations we’ve heard thus far have yet to be proven and several of the accusers have been anonymous, so do you affect somebody’s career, reputation and family if you’re not completely certain?
That’s not a popular question to be asked, but at the same time, it is one that needs to be asked, which will make a company policy on sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour an ever-evolving process as we move forward.
Even defining misconduct isn’t always easy. Back in December, for example, a Conservative MP apologized for joking, “This isn’t my idea of a threesome” when he posed for a photo in Ottawa with a Liberal MP and another individual. The Liberal MP complained that the comment caused her great stress and negatively affected her work environment.
The Conservative MP went through a review and completed sensitivity training. The chief human resources officer’s report did not support a claim of sexual harassment and no disciplinary action was taken.
How would you have dealt with it? That may be a question you have to answer sometime soon and, if you choose not to, the possibility of it being settled outside of your operation is real.
Governments and big business don’t have all the answers either, but in uncertain times, having a policy based on the opinions of professionals in these matters is a good place to start.