Even as allegations continue to make headlines and sobering reports reveal how widespread sexual harassment and assault in the workplace are, until recently, many people didn't feel safe to speak up until now. Most still don't. A 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) report found that only six to 13 percent of workplace harassment victims file complaints. The rest may be afraid that if they do, their jobs will suffer. Enter, Mogul's new Safety @ Work system, an online tool for anonymously reporting sexual misconduct in the workplace.
After the recent string of allegations against powerful men started coming out, Mogul Founder and CEO Tiffany Pham felt there needed to be a third party between victims and their employers to prevent more such incidents from happening. After all, the problem isn't unique to celebrities or Hollywood: 23 percent of women have been sexually harassed by someone in a position of power at work, and 30 percent have experienced workplace harassment overall, according to an ABC News–Washington Post poll conducted in October. Pham tried to find out if such a system existed, but she realized that the organizations dedicated to this issue didn't have the resources to create one, and the ones with the resources didn't care enough. But Mogul, an online platform connecting women worldwide, did.
So, the company's Mogul @ Work division got to work creating an online form that victims or witnesses of sexual misconduct can fill out to report what they see. They can choose to include their names and contact information if they want to talk further about the incident, but they don't have to. Each report gets sent to multiple HR leaders at the reporter's company so they can investigate the case. Several big companies have already signed up, but if the user's company hasn't, they'll soon be able to file the report through Mogul, whose team will personally reach out to their company.
"we aimed to transform how workplace sexual misconduct is reported and treated, helping women to feel safe once again."
"With the sexual assault allegations arising across industries from tech to VC to entertainment throughout this year, we were being flooded with requests for help and support," Pham tells Bustle. "We knew Mogul had to address this issue. Developing the Safety @ Work tool in collaboration with top leaders across these industries, we aimed to transform how workplace sexual misconduct is reported and treated, helping women to feel safe once again."
The biggest problem Safety @ Work addresses is the fear of retaliation people often feel when reporting sexual misconduct in the workplace. This fear is not unfounded: A recent Women Who Tech survey found that 35 percent of women in tech who reported sexual harassment at work faced negative repercussions for it. Meanwhile, only nine percent said their harassers did. Because of its anonymity, Safety @ Work protects victims from facing punishment for speaking out. It also allows bystanders who may be scared to speak up in the moment to stand up for their coworkers after the fact.
"Employees are still facing major barriers to reporting sexual harassment they endure or see happen, leading to gross under-reporting of these incidents," Natasha Birnbaum, VP of Mogul @ Work, tells Bustle. "HR leaders, CEOs, and executives are therefore lacking the necessary data points to understand how rampant these incidents are in their workplaces, making them more legally liable as incidents later come to light. Mogul's Safety @ Work tool provides instantaneous data points so that companies gain more visibility to take appropriate and immediate action while simultaneously obtaining a more holistic view of needed cultural change."
Safety @ Work is currently private to the companies using it and will be made publicly available early next year. If you have a company that wants to use it, you can contact Natasha Birnbaum (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set it up. The more people who get on board, the fewer victims who will have to suffer in silence.