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Using Mediation to Change Sexual Harassment Culture in the Entertainment Industry and Beyond

For too long, sexual harassment in the entertainment industry has been brushed under the (red) carpet. But it’s not just individual cases, toxic workplace culture (in many industries) creates the conditions where harassment thrives. Facing the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace demands sensitive solutions to confront entrenched workplace culture. Sometimes people aren’t even aware that their behavior is inappropriate. Often the victims who confront toxic sexual harassment culture at work face huge risks of retaliation. Mediation can support two or more parties to resolve these issues in a safe, confidential environment. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we approach all conflict using psychological and mathematical tools to understand the deeper interests involved. This does NOT mean you have to tolerate abusive treatment at work. Mediation helps parties to understand how their behavior affects others by identifying the positions of parties in relation to others.

Where does Sexual Harassment Thrive?

Example 1: In a gender imbalanced workplace such as STEM industries or even on a film-set. In this context, the minority gender may be expected to “prove” themselves by laughing off verbal abuse and harassment. This may be of a low-level, but persistent nature, which is difficult to pinpoint. When women for example are isolated in a hostile workplace culture they just put up with this behavior thinking “this is how it’s always been.” Mediation can enter as an intermediary or support for women and minorities in these environments. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone however, not just women. The common factor is alienation from the dominant workplace culture, lack of power/inexperience or ability to defend oneself.

Example 2: Sexual harassment in an industry where physical appearance is a premium. In the entertainment industry, sexual harassment has long been accepted as “part of the deal”, in an often superficial industry. Sexual harassment — unwanted comments on your appearance, groping, unwanted advances, crossing personal space or assault, belittling treatment based on appearance or gender — is never acceptable. The good news is that mediation can help dismantle myths of sexual harassment as the “price” of working in the entertainment industry. Dispute resolution doesn’t just resolve conflict between two people, it is a mechanism for overhauling conflict dynamics in any environment. In the wake of sexual harassment revelations, tension in entertainment industry workplaces may be reaching breaking point. If you’re in leadership or an employee who has suffered abuse, mediation is a tailored solution for workplaces that are ready to change.

Example 3: Sexual harassment “ringleaders” promote an oppressive working environment. Sometimes sexual harassment thrives because one or a number of people make inappropriate comments or create an environment of fear and tension. Often it is difficult to resolve these problems because the people creating the problem are in a position of power, or aren’t even aware of their behavior. There can be a combination of difficult, high conflict personalities and gender dynamics. These dynamics can make it harder for people to speak up, go after promotions or anything that would put them in the spotlight for abuse. An even more delicate situation is when someone thinks they are being “funny”, but they are not. As a completely private process, mediation offers a way to safely get people to confront their behaviors and change. If your focus is on preserving important relationships and transforming conflict into cooperation, mediation is purpose-built to resolve such conflicts.

Why sexual harassment mediation can work for you:

– It is a flexible process that can suit the needs of your conflict and can incorporate more types of remedies than purely legal conflicts: financial compensation, restorative justice, agreement not to retaliate, updated workplace policies, education and much more.
– It can involve many people, including the parties, employers, insurance company representatives, even supportive non-profit groups committed to change.
– It is completely confidential, which means that many issues can be brought to the table which parties might not want to air in a court setting.
– It is fast and efficient and can slot easily into work schedules.

If you are in the entertainment industry or any other industry and are committed to rooting out sexual harassment in your work environment, mediation can offer short or long-term conflict resolution to completely transform your workplace. On the other hand, if you are a victim of toxic workplace culture, mediation offers a supportive way to negotiate for the treatment you deserve. Please visit us or contact us at our new offices in Beverly Hills, LA via Zoom, Facetime or telephone. We are also available at our offices in Irvine, CA, Campbell, CA and Boulder, CO. Get in touch to see how we can help.

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