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How a Company Can Recover From a #MeToo Claim in 3 Simple Steps

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By George Khoury, Esq. on March 14, 2018 4:00 PM

The #MeToo movement has resulted in some serious corporate shake-ups and PR nightmares. Billionaire Steve Wynn, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and even the former Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, have all been ousted as a result of the public's support for victims of sexual harassment.

But not all #MeToo claims have resulted in widespread public backlash. One Silicon Valley startup faced a #MeToo charge and lawsuit without being publicly eviscerated, and what it did in response should serve as a guide for other companies that get called out.

1. Own Up to It

If something went down, don't deny it. The consumer public actually places a rather high premium on corporate transparency. While active litigation may make it difficult to issue a meaningful statement, pursuing the deny, shame then blame, strategy can easily backfire. Just ask former judge Alex Kozinski, who openly stated he wasn't worried about the allegations, how well that worked out for him.

2. Do Something About It

In addition to taking responsibility and apologizing publicly, doing something about it, and making sure the public knows you're doing something about it, is critical.

An example of doing something would include forcing out the alleged perpetrators and those that aided the perpetrator. Additionally, providing company wide training on sexual harassment and company policies on reporting harassment is a minimal step in the right direction (and one that can be publicly announced). And if the company has resources to devote to philanthropic endeavors, do so as publicly as possible.

3. Hire Diverse

Lastly, when replacing the perpetrators, consider hiring diverse candidates for those top spots. Doing so puts the company's money where its (post-scandal, damage control) mouth is, so to speak. One of the major criticisms the Silicon Valley company mentioned above faced involved hiring a white male CEO to replace their last white male CEO who resigned amid the #MeToo allegations.

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