Time's Up (in HR Too)

Supporting equality and fairness at work

The Time's Up movement should be integrated in every workplace in America.

#TimesUp and #MeToo is at the forefront. Hollywood's dirty secret of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, quid pro quo and pay inequality against women was exposed when nearly 60 women came forward to share their personal stories of being victimized in the workplace. Men were put on notice that #TimesUp.

The difference between #MeToo and Time's Up, is that #MeToo was a sharing of stories, accounts and experiences that led to the Time's Up movement. Whereas #MeToo was a hashtag, Time's Up is a business founded by 300 powerful women in Hollywood. If you visit the website, you will read directly under the Time's Up logo, "The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It's time to do something about it." Time's Up has a legal defense fund which accepts donations to specifically assist with investigating claims of sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace, as well as fight the accused in court.

The question is, if HR was doing its job, would there even be a need for the Time's Up movement? There are several articles published since #MeToo questioning the whereabouts of HR in all of these accusations. When you read the stories of sexual harassment and inequality coming out of seemingly every segment of business imaginable, it begs the question: where was HR? Based on the millions of instances being reported, any seasoned HR professional has to at least consider that more could have been done.

As HR professionals, leaders and human beings, we are at a crossroads. We can make a choice to join the Time's Up movement by supporting it in our organizations and providing sexual harassment and awareness training to our employees to say something if they see something. Although human resources' primary job function is to protect the company against liability, we should also protect the company against itself. That means, in part, acknowledging that sometimes the worst offenders are those in charge. We are also tasked with upholding ethical, nondiscriminatory leadership and fairness by increasing visibility, transparency and even establishing an ombudsman approach.

The worst of the Time's Up and #MeToo stories are when an employee goes to HR and nothing ever happens or changes. We are seeing far too many cases of the victim going to human resources only to be placated or dismissed altogether. Well, Time's Up!

We can adjust our HR departments, actions, policies and procedures by supporting the Time's Up movement's philosphy and incorporating equality and fairness into the recruiting, training and talent management initiatives to ensure every woman and man feels valued, safe, and protected at work.