Obviously in Canada, where 94% of C-suite executives don’t believe there is a sexual harassment problem, they should reread my book ‘From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire’, to refresh their memories. As early as November 2015, I have been warning companies that they need to become more aware – a lot more aware, in fact – that not only is sexual harassment alive and well in the workplace, but it reflects a far more serious and far more pervasive problem – the workplace in North America operates as a culture of fear.
I have focused much attention on this issue in my blogs. Now, Patrick Brown, the leader of the opposition of Ontario, which represents 39% of Canada’s GDP, has resigned under alleged sexual misconduct. So has Nova Scotia PC leader Jamie Baillie, over allegations of inappropriate behaviour. This is not just inappropriate; it is deplorable.
It is high time that boards of directors and executives should seriously be addressing this question within their own ranks and their own organizations. This behaviour is not going to go away; nor is this serious societal problem relegated solely to sexual harassment. This is an enormous problem that will undoubtedly result in other people coming forward with other forms of abuse. These various forms of abuse too often lead to dire consequences to families and individuals.
I will continue to encourage people to come forward not only because of past allegations, but because primarily this stuff is still going on. Recent examples include Dr. Larry Nassar, the disgraced Michigan State University gymnastics doctor, who has been sexually abusing patients since 1995! This is just the tip of the iceberg in this investigation where a whole host of stomach-wrenching cover-ups and denials will very likely emerge. Everybody claims that they either didn’t know the abuse was taking place or as in this case, coach Martha Karolyi said that it never actually happened! Claiming you don’t know is an admission that you are clueless about what is going in your organization; or you’re outright lying.
People cannot be under the allusion that these are extreme cases. This stuff goes on all the time everywhere. Take this current example in Nova Scotia, where yet a second doctor working for the RCMP is facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Clearly, this has not been a good day for Canada. My advice to all board directors and executives is to put on a stronger pair of glasses and become more aware of what in hell is going on in your own organization. This behaviour is repulsive and should not be the backdrop by which people around the world view our great country!
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