Are You Ready to Handle Harassment Complaints in Business and at Work?


As reported in the New York Times over the last week, VR start-up Upload (which at its peak employed a little over 20 employees) was able to settle a sex discrimination / hostile environment lawsuit filed against them last May by a former employee for a modest sum.

It appears that it was a pyrrhic victory for CEO Taylor Freeman and President Will Mason. As the above New York Times article about the non-compliant harassment activity at Upload (and the complicity in the harassment by their executives) outlined in the Upload lawsuit was about to be published, they issued a statement saying “We let you down, and we’re sorry.”

Read the New York Times article with its disappointing and lurid details as a cautionary leadership and legal tale when harassment is allowed and encouraged to run rampant in an organization of any size.

However, there are concrete lessons learned offered by the Upload Executive team to support success in other and/or future start-ups and organizations:

CEO Freeman, quoted in the New York Times article:

“A lot of things could be avoided if there is an open line of communication,” he said. “Once you have five people, male or female, at a start-up you need external HR. Not having someone to go talk to about your potential concerns just makes it so much worse.”

Newly hired COO Anne Ahola Ward has as instituted mandatory anti-harassment training: a two-hour session led by an outside consultant. There is now a human resources department. People have formal job descriptions. 

Are you ready to handle (and effectively / compliantly resolve) harassment complaints in business and at work?

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