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#MeToo And Boundaries In The Office

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Joe Biden faces accusations of an unwanted kiss. What are the boundaries and best practices in the workplace in the era of #MeToo?

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Caitlin Huey Burns, political reporter for CBS News. ( @CHueyBurns)

Elizabeth Tippett, University of Oregon law professor. She researches employment practices and business ethics. ( @TippettLiz)

Mirande Valbrune, employee relations professional with an employment law background. Author of “ #MeToo: A Practical Guide to Navigating Today’s Cultural Workplace Revolution.” ( @mirandevalbrun1)

From The Reading List

Time: “ Second Woman Accuses Joe Biden of Inappropriate Behavior” — “Aides to Joe Biden are striking a more aggressive tone as the former vice president faces scrutiny over his past behavior toward women.

“In a statement Monday, Biden spokesman Bill Russo blasted ‘right wing trolls’ from ‘the dark recesses of the internet’ for conflating images of Biden embracing acquaintances, colleagues and friends in his official capacity during swearing-in ceremonies with uninvited touching.

“The move came on a day in which a second woman said Biden had acted inappropriately, touching her face with both hands and rubbing noses with her in 2009. The allegation by Amy Lappos, a former aide to Democratic Rep. Jim Hines of Connecticut, followed a magazine essay by former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, who wrote that Biden kissed her on the back of the head in 2014.”

CNN: “ Biden tries to defuse first crisis” — “Joe Biden is facing the first crisis of his yet-to-be-official, front-running 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.

“An allegation by Nevada Democratic politician Lucy Flores that he once made her feel ‘uneasy’ by smelling her hair and kissing the back of her head forced the former vice president’s team into damage control mode over the weekend.

“Biden said in a personal statement that while he did not recall the alleged incident, it is important for women like Flores to be heard.

“It is too early to tell whether the drama represents a true emerging threat to Biden’s potential campaign in the post #MeToo era or will end up as a non-disqualifying detail in the record of a colorful and sometimes controversial political figure.”

Forbes: “ Emerging Human Resources Trends In The Wake Of #MeToo” — “Sexual harassment, as highlighted by the #MeToo movement, cuts across all professional industries. Global, high-profile companies have landed at the center of some of the most public sexual harassment cases. With the widespread visibility of the #MeToo movement, what can human resources professionals expect from the fallout?”  

The Washington Post: “ What’s the point of sexual harassment training? Often, to protect employers.” — “Now that we’ve had something of an awakening about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the American workplace, the conversation is shifting to what to do about it. In many workplaces, the answer seems to be that we need mandatory training and clearer policies.

“That seems to be the dominant thinking on Capitol Hill. After more than 1,500 former congressional aides signed a letter calling for action, the House and Senate adopted mandatory anti-harassment training for all lawmakers and staffers. This ‘sends a clear message: harassment of any kind is not and will not be tolerated in Congress,’ Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, there is little evidence that training reduces sexual harassment. Rather, training programs, along with anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures, do more to shield employers from liability than to protect employees from harassment. And the clearest message they send is to the courts: Nothing to see here, folks.”

Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast. 

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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