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How harassment cases impact smaller organizations

The #MeToo movement has inspired many people to stand up against co-workers that have committed acts of harassment or discrimination. As a result, both businesses and the state of Maryland have been changing their policies to combat harassment and improve their work environments.

When a company has an employee that faces harassment allegations, it impacts how the public and their own workers perceive them. Without a proper HR team and little experience on handling the matter, small or nonprofit organizations can have an especially difficult time responding to and recovering from these allegations. An example of this can be found in recent allegations towards Maryland performing arts groups that was covered by the Baltimore Sun.

Trouble in the theatre

The article covers different cases of harassment within different Baltimore small arts groups and how it impacts their future performances. The first involves a volunteer company member of Iron Crow Theatre accusing the CEO of pinching his buttocks and verbally harassing him. The member felt he was no longer safe and contacted the theatre’s outreach manager and the Baltimore Sun about it.

The member left the company and the cast members suspended production on the play they were working on. Emotions ran high as company members released personal attacks to each other on social media. They attempted to schedule an event to discuss the incidents with their leaders but cancelled it after worrying it would lead to further conflict. Fans worry about the theatre’s future and hope the issues will resolve soon.

Staying close to the accused

The high-profile arts organization Le Mondo also came under investigation for misconduct allegations. Four women accused the executive director of sexual misconduct and verbal harassment. He briefly resigned before being rehired as a development consultant, resulting in harsh criticism and concerns from the arts community.

The company offered a mediation session with the four women, but the women refused after finding out the accused chose the mediator. Le Mondo later fired the man and took down their Facebook page.

A difficult recovery

One difficulty that comes with working in a smaller organization is that when one person makes a mistake, everyone suffers for it. Not only are you working for a place that is under fire from the public and local communities, but you also feel unsafe being in the same building as someone who’s been accused of horrible deeds.

Some people may be discouraged knowing that speaking up can negatively impact the organization as a whole even if only one person is guilty of harassment or sexual misconduct. Most of these theatres had to discard all the hard work they did for months thanks to these allegations. However, you should not allow the offender to continue getting away with inappropriate, and often illegal, behavior. It is crucial that you make your workplace aware of any potential dangers so that they take action to prevent it from happening again.

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