Politics 02 March 2019
"I am proud to have worked with Congresswoman Bustos to spearhead the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act."
These were some of the words renowned author, advocate and television news anchor, Gretchen Carlson shared with SWAAY. Carlson is known not only for her work and accomplishments in the media, but also standing up to her harasser, Chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, in 2016 during her time at Fox News. Years ago, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, and won. It wasn't, and still isn't common for a majority of victims who've reported cases. Needless to say, Ailes was forced to end his career at Fox.
Gretchen Carlson, photographed at the Fortune Most Powerful Women 2017 Summit. (Photo Courtesy of WikiCommons - Fortune Conferences)
#MeToo movements, marches for justice and equality are transforming societies. Carlson was one of the first to pioneer these movements. This week, she reintroduced her bill in the House that requires companies to remove the forced arbitration clause; so that all voices can be heard. Arbitration is intended to be cost-effective, reduce litigation costs, and provide guidelines for companies to resolve conflict out of the public lens. It then became clear to Carlson that the agreement wasn't meant to handle factors like sexual harassment. In fact, arbitration agreements make it harder for employees to sue their employer and take their case to court. The harmful clause that has been embedded in corporate and non-corporate structures for years, silences sexual harassment cases. It's just starting to come to an end. Carlson's work is an important milestone for many, women especially.
“I believe every woman and man should be entitled to have their claims adjudicated in a courtroom rather than behind closed doors where victims can never discuss what happened," Carlson says. “I'm thankful for this bipartisan effort to make workplaces safer across our country."
Last year, it was estimated that more than 60 million Americans signed arbitration clauses, according to Vox. Based on a Supreme Court ruling, it's legal for companies to require employees to sign these clauses in their employment contracts. In doing so, those who have been harassed cannot create a lawsuit against the employer. “Forced arbitration clauses in employment agreements are not designed to achieve fair, expeditious or cost-effective resolutions for sexual harassment cases," Carlson expressed. "They are often used by companies to demean and silence women and conceal pervasive sexual harassment while allowing sexual predators to operate with virtual impunity." In other words, victims are not able to pursue legal action.
Carlson's Mission and Impact
“I'm trying to get a bipartisan bill passed to at least get the secrecy taken out...because when it's [a culture of secrecy], women don't come forward, because they think it's only happening to them." Carlson shared in her previous interview with SWAAY.
Carlson is an advocate for many, specifically women. “When I filed my suit, I had no idea how pervasive it was across every socioeconomic line and every profession, from Smalltown, USA, all the way to Washington, DC," Carlson shared with a Vox reporter. In an additional question pondering the benefits for a victim going to court, Carlson believes it provides an opportunity to give a voice to others. “The arbitration process means that nobody else in the company knows this behavior might be going on," she responds to Vox. “When things are technically more out in the open, more people don't feel alone.
“So you find strength in numbers."
Since the official announcement, public figures have supported Carlson. Actress, Director, Producer and Activist, Sophia Bush took to Instagram to show support on her story.
“Standing with the courageous @GretchenCarlson today! She is re-introducing her bill that will require companies to remove the forced arbitration clause[,] which takes away your right to arbitration if you encounter sexual harassment, gender discrimination. #endforedarbitration"
On Twitter, Margaret Cho, the Grammy and Emmy Award nominated stand-up comedian, actress and singer-songwriter, tweeted about the big news. She highlighted key information about the forced clause. According to Cho, “They take away your rights to fight sexual harassment and gender discrimination." She then asked her followers if they know about this hidden clause.
Margaret Cho tweeted in support of Gretchen Carlson in February.
Since her bill has been introduced, tech companies like Microsoft and Vox Media have taken forced arbitration clauses out of their contracts. Uber and Lyft removed arbitration clauses for sexual harassment. Now, Google is on the list. The company “...announced an end to the policy for its full-time employees as well as its temporary workers, contractors and vendors - though the company said it would still enter into contracts with companies that have forced arbitration clauses," The Hill reported. Around 50 percent of their workforce are contracted through third-party companies. They are not able to benefit from this huge change, just yet.
Google employees protesting. Photo credit: Gizmodo
Google is also making class-action lawsuits possible; employees can now come together and sue if needed. Last Thursday, six Google employees joined congressional Democrats to continue to support ending arbitration and protest against disempowerment of employees. They are taking on the same legislative battle as Carlson. The decision for Google to remove its clause didn't come easily, like most. Also reported by The Hill, Google employees “staged a worldwide walkout by 20,000 employees over the company's handling of sexual abuse last year." Similar occurrences have taken place with eBay and Airbnb. A handful of well-known companies like PayPal, HP, IBM and Verizon are on a long list of companies reported, that have yet to take out the clause.
If the bill is won and enforced on companies, employees will be able to hold their employers accountable for misconduct.
As for Carlson's next step? She is taking this to the Senate.
Whether it's your child or your brand, there is nothing quite like the excitement you get when you see the fruits of your efforts grow. In the face of aversion, you must remain cool-minded and adaptable to remain effective. This can be quite stressful, and every minute counts. Alone, the responsibility can be overwhelming - wouldn't it be nice if things just ran themselves sometimes? Especially those things that we do mindlessly all the time, and seem to take up most of our time?
When you start a business, you soon come to realize that in order to grow your brand, you need to be extremely organized. And to be efficiently organized, it is imperative that you master the art of managing your time. The saying 'time is money' rings true when it comes to growth. This is why we're going to provide you with helpful tips that will allow you to save time so you can focus on growing your brand.
Use the Right Tools
Technology has changed the way we conduct our business with each other. Today, more than ever before, we have access to data which gives us clearer insight and vision, as well as better tools for productivity. However, as we all know, this is all conditional to your intent. As much as a smartphone can be a tool for productivity, it can also be a fantastic source of distraction and procrastination, which is directly detrimental to said productivity. Automation is an advantage that is available to almost everyone today when it would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.
When a brand is still young, the team is still close-knit and there isn't too much coordination necessary when it comes to keeping up to date and on top of work. Chat groups and video calls can do, as well as simple task-managing apps. But as you grow, your workflow becomes more complex and the volume of data generated by your company will very quickly become a logistical nightmare.
Telltale signs of data overwhelming are endless excel sheets, frantic Post-it notes all around the (real or digital) office, and relying on the consumer rather than business-oriented data storage and communications solutions. These have their limits, and investing in a holistic company-wide system will not be a waste.
Work More Effectively
Your workflow can be simplified into smaller tasks which follow each other in a sequence, which can have conditional elements to it. That's where automation comes in. If you can draw it in a flowchart, you can automate it. Tasks that would have taken days can be outsourced to a machine that will not only perform but also learn in the process.
There is now a myriad of online services for freelancers which essentially give them the productivity potential of a small firm. We're now at the point where bots at https://www.hellobonsai.com/contract-templates can generate custom templates for the documents your brand needs, replacing the need for a legal consultant to intervene. You just need to know what you want to automate, and what you want to make out of it. If you create a logical process from the inception of your brand, then the automation will be seamless, as all you will need to do is add more tasks.
Be Mobile and Flexible
Most of your coworkers and clients will probably already have a smartphone, or will soon. It is also very likely that beyond using these for leisure and social activities, they use them for work. It is now normal to switch off the heating in that apartment you've been renting out while you are on holiday because your AirBNB tenants are overusing it. Or to track the status of your latest food delivery while you are sitting on the toilet.
Consumers today are not only constantly on the move, but they are also increasingly data-focused. They will be looking for results and have the capabilities they need to research, analyze, and calculate what they deem necessary to ensure they will be making the right decision. They thus also expect the same in return, in the form of bespoke customer service that is both intelligent and responsive.
Data is everywhere and is relatively easy to obtain. In a single click, you can generate a web analysis that will reveal more information about your blog or website than your doctor will ever tell you about your own body. Before diving into this ocean of data, take time to identify what is really important to you. Brainstorming is a great tool to really identify and prioritize what you and your team should be focusing on first. If you try to wage war on all fronts, then the chances of winning are slim.
With the right tools and the right method, you can save yourself quite a considerable amount of time. With both the agility and flexibility that data managing and automation software brings to the table, you will see an increase in your productivity. Careful planning is key, and if you focus on streamlining your workflow, you will be able to take your brand to the next level.