HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Sexual harassment accusations toppled more big names this week. High-powered individuals were fired from their posts following ongoing investigations.
For victims, the status of their attackers typically intimidates them. Human resources professionals say the victims are generally afraid they will be scolded and that nothing will be done. However, as more and more of these cases have accumulated in recent weeks, companies are now sending a strong message that no one is too big to fall.
William MacKenzie of the University of Alabama's College of Business describes sexual misconduct in the workplace as unwelcome and unwanted.
"There's always going to be some individuals who engage in behavior that is unacceptable, and I think some individuals will have a hard time distinguishing what's acceptable and what's not," MacKenzie said.
He suggests companies continue to implement more and more training.
No company endorses sexual misconduct. MacKenzie refers to policies that are already in place.
"I think these types of policies protect everybody. We want people to want to come to work. We want work to be a pleasant environment," he said.
For years these actions have occurred and have mostly gone silent. The main reason for that is simply the sensitivity of the topics, something MacKenzie said plays a role in the tough time it takes to move forward.
"I think you almost have to treat it like grief counseling. It's a grieving process. They've lost a colleague. While he didn't die or pass away, he's gone. It's not an easy recovery. It's not going to be something people just bounce back from," he said.
MacKenzie suggests simple behavior changes: space and speech, keeping your hands to yourself and watching what you say.
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