Is #MeToo A New Way Of Whistleblowing?

#MeToo is a trend that’s given millions of people the confidence to speak up about sexual harassment and assault. While women have been at the center, even men have spoken up against these injustices.

Thanks to the movement, people in power who’ve abused their positions are being forced out and even incarcerated. States and the federal government are even creating new laws to better protect employees, even independent contractors, from sexual abuse of any sort.

Beginnings Of #MeToo

Even though Tarana Burke started the movement over 10 years ago, it wasn’t until Alyssa Milano began to talk about it a few years ago that it really took off. Of course, when numerous allegations were brought forth against Harvey Weinstein, people truly began to talk about #MeToo in earnest.

While some may claim it’s a witch hunt against powerful men, the movement is only designed as a way for victims to finally speak up and for potential victims to report sexual harassment, and be taken seriously, before it turns into something more violent.

Whistleblowing Leads To New Laws

While sexual harassment and assault whistleblowing has always existed, having it on a mass scale has forced people to finally pay more attention. For instance, some perpetrators used non-disclosure agreements to prevent victims from speaking out. However, some states, such as California, New Jersey and New York, are banning those agreements in cases involving any form of sexual harassment, discrimination or assault.

Another example of new laws includes protections for independent contractors. Sadly, most people in these roles aren’t covered by federal or state sexual harassment laws. Even though they are technically considered workers by the IRS, they’re not considered employees when it comes to certain protections on the job. Some states, such as New York, are finally classifying self-employed and independent contractors as employees with the same protections as any other.

New laws are being made on a global level as well. The 2019 International Labour Organization Convention on Violence and Harassment at Work, which includes 476 governments and employers worldwide, voted to work to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace with a vote of 439 for.

Whistleblowing Backlash

On the other hand, the #MeToo movement has created a new form of discrimination. In some studies, men are less likely to want to hire attractive women or to be alone with women on the job for fear of being reported, whether they did anything wrong or not. Even women have agreed that this movement has created some issues with men and women working equally together.

This is an example of an overall fear of whistleblowers, especially on such a mass scale. While there have been some false accusations, many have been proven when they’re investigated thoroughly. The good side is people are speaking up earlier on, versus waiting 20-30 years. By reporting issues early, the accused can be stopped and the workplace becomes a safer place for everyone.

#MeToo is a new way of whistleblowing that’s changing the world. Finally, more people are being heard and positive changes are taking place to take whistleblowers more seriously.