Sexual harassment spotlight now falls on tech start-up industry
An adverse glare has fallen on Silicon Valley and its heavy concentration of high-tech companies in recent months, with victims alleging on-the-job sexual harassment coming forward in increasing fashion to point fingers at huge-name mainstays like Tesla, Microsoft, Google and Sun Microsystems.
And the people pointing those fingers are former female employees who served as everything from engineers to managers in high-rung positions.
That an unwanted spotlight — at least from the perspective of perpetrators and senior executives — is now bathing the tech start-up community with negative wattage is hardly surprising, says one commentator, who states that there is really nothing particularly different about the industry that renders it “more predisposed to these sort of problems.”
The driving catalyst underlying recurrent episodes of sexual harassment against women workers, she says, is that the industry culture, like that in many other work spheres, is shaped “by a disproportionate leadership.”
That means this: men, who monopolize top-tier positions. For various reasons (ranging from a turning of heads the other way to a base misunderstanding of the degree to which harassment is a problem), the male-heavy leadership bastion at the top has helped to engender problematic environments in companies where a female presence in the boardroom is an anomaly.
Various contributors to a recent national media report on female-targeted sexual harassment in the Silicon Valley start-up sphere collectively endorse a more zero-sum type of approach to dealing with the problem.
That means terminating — in every instance, with no exception ever — any male worker with a demonstrated history of harassing behavior toward women. It means companies having multiple channels in place to report harassment. It means every company leader acknowledging the issue and being proactive about eradicating the evil at every business level and location.
And, notes one start-up female executive, it especially means that every investigation that is undertaken following a sexual harassment claim be conducted “with confidentiality [to protect the victim] and a swiftness of process.”