It is hard to believe that it has been less than a year since Susan Fowler posted her article, “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber,” which detailed her experience with sexual harassment and discrimination as a software engineer while working at tech giant, Uber. Since then, there has been an avalanche of accusations from women who have come forward to speak of their own experience with sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Barely a week has gone by that a story about harassment or misconduct hasn’t splashed across our news feeds, thus making the infamous #MeToo movement go viral.
Ten years ago Tarana Burke began the quiet #MeToo movement, but it wasn’t until countless women from various industries bravely stepped forward to share their experiences that the #MeToo movement made its way into mainstream conversations.
MeToo has given a voice to those who have suffered sexual harassment and has also shed light on how pervasive sexual harassment is in the workplace.
Elaine Marino Founder, Equili
Let’s pause for a second and take a journey back to 1991 when the Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas hearings placed a national spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace like never before. Immediately after the high-profile case made headlines, corporate America embraced anti-harassment and discrimination policies, trainings, as well as a whole era of learning and understanding. Yet, after the dust settled, companies did not keep up with training staff over the next couple decades as company cultures expand to online chatter. So now you have two generations lacking formal training and understanding of what is and is not acceptable behavior in the workplace, and certainly, no guidance on what to do if they feel threatened or harassed. Ask anyone under the age of 40 who Anita Hill is; the blank stare is surprising.
In the past 27 years the workplace has changed drastically, however the training in how to deal with sexual harassment has not. With the advent of social media and other chat platforms, the opportunity for sexual harassment has only increased. The rules and social mores surrounding how and when colleagues interact have changed, and there are no hard and fast rules as to what is acceptable. Unfortunately, we have access to each other at all hours of the day, which sometimes opens up opportunities for harassment that may have previously not been possible.
Since Fowler’s article went viral, Equili, a Denver based company that specializes in gender and racial diversity in the tech industry, has been fielding calls from women regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. Not only did these victims feel powerless, they literally didn’t know what steps to take next. These questions prompted the team at Equili to plan an evening that will deal specifically with the laws in Colorado surrounding sexual harassment. During the discussion, a powerhouse panel of experts will tackle what both employers and employees need to know about sexual harassment, what employees can do to protect themselves and their employees, and what the next steps are after the harassment has occurred.
Surbhi Garg and Neeti Pawar will kickoff the evening with a discussion about harassment law, and provide insight into what to do if harassment happens to you and how companies can better train their employees on how to deal with it if it takes place. Garg is a lawyer at Gordon and Rees and conducts training on sexual harassment and discrimination. Pawar is a lawyer who specializes in mediation and employment law investigations. The two will host a Q & A session after their talk.
During the second half of the evening, Elaine Marino founder of Equili, will interview business consultant, Heather J MacKenzie, on her experience with assault and sexual harassment while working at a Fortune 15 company. Ms. MacKenzie will speak of her experience with her sexual assault and harassment case, what the repercussions were for her and her family as a solo parent of 6 children and where she is now.
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 | 5:30PM to 8:00PM
Secure Set Academy
2228 Blake St. Denver, CO