A Bloomberg article recently revealed that some Wall Street firms are hiring fewer women because the male employees are afraid female coworkers might misinterpret (or, more likely, correctly interpret) their male coworkers' questionable behavior and then publicly complain they've been harassed.

If this backlash to #METOO gains momentum, US industries might end up looking like their Japanese counterparts, with even fewer women in top jobs. Or even any jobs. However, since the failure to tap the talents of half the population is a recipe for stagnation (e.g. Japan), US companies will inevitably try to figure out ways to mitigate the risk.

An obvious solution would be to put cameras everywhere to record and archive everything that goes on in the office. Open plan offices, of course, make this strategy easy to implement since there's so little privacy already. Indeed, I suspect that some firms have already gone full "big brother," not due to #METOO, but because they don't trust their employees and therefore think it's a good idea to spy on them. (Which is perfectly legal in the US, BTW.)

Another obvious solution would be to allow more employees to work entirely from home, since harassing a coworker online leaves a huge audit trail and telephone conversations  can be easily (and undetectably) recorded. 

Unfortunately, neither of those strategies will eliminate the (perceived) risk because sexual harassment cases frequently involve business travel, business lunches, and other off-site activities. As a result, some men are implementing the "Mike Pence" rule and refusing to alone at any time with a female coworker, much less travel with or attempt to mentor one.

Due to all the above, I believe it is inevitable that companies will eventually (and probably sooner than later) require all employees to wear operating body-cams whenever they're engaged in any activity that involves coworkers. This will, of course, completely eliminate the tiny vestiges of personal privacy that yet remain in the workplace. But, frankly, we were pretty much already there anyway.

So there you have it: bodycams for everyone, all the time. I can't help but wonder, though, whether it might not just be easier for everyone concerned if men in the business world would just stop acting like d*ckheads, in which case the entire issue would disappear of its own accord. 

But I guess that's asking too much.

Published on: Dec 4, 2018
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