By Shari Carlozzi, Hapco, Inc.
Carlozzi was surprised and disappointed on one industry magazine’s article about the #MeToo movement.
I recently opened a roofing industry magazine on the subject of the #MeToo movement, and while I wasn’t surprised to see an article on the subject that has rocked the nation, I was both surprised and disappointed to see the tone of this particular article: showing a faceless woman, hiding behind a “#MeToo” sign as its focal point over a two-page spread.
As a woman in the roofing industry, I was instantly compelled with a sense of angst, to investigate the true nature of this article. Could it really be as bad as it seemed at first glance? Yes. And what’s worse, the article referred to the movement as “so-called” MeToo movement….not real. It is very real, and while I understand the purpose of the #MeToo movement, let me remind you that National Women in Roofing was developed years before anyone mentioned #MeToo. While we understand their purpose, our NWIR mission is to empower women and recruit them into our industry, we are not merely an extension of #MeToo.
As I continued reading I became more and more shocked at how one-sided this article really was and how uninformed the author (an attorney) was on the subject. The gist of the article was to promote legal support for the health of your company in order to understand, protect and prepare your company from the legal complications of workplace harassment claims. Those intentions were good, but like most news articles, the broad context is usually found on page 1, with the fine details appearing somewhere on page 5, where the average reader will never finish.
The author of the article asserts that too many men have immediately and unfairly lost their jobs due to the viral effects of the #MeToo movement. I disagree! HR departments are designed to keep records of misconduct for the protection of the company, especially against any counter suits for unreasonable termination. Therefore, if an individual was seemingly fired instantly as the article asserts, you can bet that this was NOT the first incident. Discrimination in the workplace is very real, and for those companies who have abused their authority at the expense of their employees, the #MeToo movement is their wake-up call.
My point is this: Filing a discrimination case is not some flight of a fancied fabrication. The author took broad swipe at a very real and valid movement and trivialized it. My father always told me if you think something is wrong, the onus is on you to figure it out and try to make it right. So, I did a little research of my own: Did you know that filing process of a sexual harassment claims is so detail-oriented with multiple and specific time constraints with reporting deadlines for the plaintiff, that only 5% of federal workplace discrimination claim suits go to trial with only 2% of those cases ending in favor of the plaintiff? WHO would subject themselves to such an effort with the odds stacked so heavily against them if it wasn’t real? This too is a wake-up call for our legal system.
While this “author” was promoting their services to help business owners to protect their vulnerabilities as a result of the #MeToo movement, I think this article may be a little late in its revelation of corporate health & safety. If a company hasn’t developed a policy on the social health of its workforce, then it is at risk. The health of a company goes far beyond fall protection, substance abuse or fiscal accounting health. We should all do our homework on what is best for the health and safety of our companies and our employees.
It is OUR responsibility to have these checks and balances in place when our companies/organizations are being developed and expanded as we grow. We are all working together to promote the roofing industry as a safe and reputable career option and we need to express it from the inside, out.
At NWIR, our Education Committee has been tackling this issue trying to figure out the best way to present it and discuss it in the roofing industry in a way that brings more clarity and better understanding on all sides. Stay tuned to see what’s next.
Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers and those who take care of us all…at home, at work and in our industry.
You can make a difference! Make it count. – Shari
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