You Can’t Delegate Ethics on the Issue of Sexual Harassment

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This blog is part of the You Can't Delegate Ethics campaign. The campaign posits that systemic change on the issue of sexual harassment will occur only when good people in power take responsibility for the issue and create workplaces that do not tolerate it.


Victims of sexual harassment have moved beyond simply speaking up; they are now standing up, speaking out and making sure their voices are heard.

There is no denying the alarming scope and prevalence of workplace sexual harassment.  For the past several months, it seems not a day goes by without news of another troubling example of egregious workplace behavior.  Victims of sexual harassment have moved beyond simply speaking up; they are now standing up, speaking out and making sure their voices are heard.  While we are troubled to learn that so many (mostly) women have suffered the traumatic impact of sexual harassment, we applaud their bravery to bring this issue into the light.

For leaders of organizations, this is a tipping point.  It is clearly beyond time for half-measures.  Policies and training will continue to be important, but more important is taking bold and decisive steps to fundamentally change workplace culture. If our codes of conduct, anti-harassment policies and trainings are contradicted by day-to-day experiences, our investment in these tools is wasted. Worse, we put our employees and our companies at risk.

While organizations that have apparently tolerated inappropriate behavior fill the news cycle, it is important to recognize that thousands of companies have been incredibly successful establishing ethical cultures.  As the world’s largest provider of ethics and compliance software solutions with over 12,500 customers, we at NAVEX Global see firsthand how great companies build strong, ethical cultures.  We believe the leaders of these companies can help others build similar cultures.  

Policies and training will continue to be important, but more important is taking bold and decisive steps to fundamentally change workplace culture. 

In that spirit, we created a discussion group on our open community engagement site, Compliance Next – it’s called You Can’t Delegate Ethics. I encourage everyone reading this blog to join the group, participate in the discussion, ask questions of your peers and share your own thoughts.  In addition, at the end of this post you’ll find a select list of organizations and resources dedicated to preventing sexual harassment and giving this important issue the attention it deserves.  

Full disclosure – NAVEX Global is a for-profit software company.  That said, we’re in this business because we believe in what we do; we help companies protect their people, their reputation and their bottom line.  But we also have an obligation to be a good corporate citizen, and it is in that context that we developed Compliance Next as a free resource for ethics and compliance professionals to learn and grow. I hope you’ll visit Compliance Next and be part of the discussion, and also part of the solution to addressing sexual harassment.  This is the principle reason we created the You Can’t Delegate Ethics discussion group.  Share your successes and challenges and learn from others.  Join the discussion and help others learn from your experiences.  For more information, follow the links below for additional content on this important topic.

Finally, I encourage you to share this post with anyone at your organization who would benefit from its message. 

Links to additional reading, resources and engagement:


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