#Metoo movement sparks changes for local businesses - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

#Metoo movement sparks changes for local businesses

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KENNEWICK: The #metro movement spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media -- hashtag me too. The movement is bringing awareness to sexual assault and harassment cases -- especially in the workplace

It led to many High-Profile cases that have been making headlines for months, and that's encouraged even more people to come forward with their own stories.

Every week it seems as though there's a new case to report on, so now -- there seems to be some changes with how small businesses approach sexual assault and harassment in the workforce.

John Heaton, President of Pay Plus Benefits says this is a trend that dates back for years. In fact, it wasn't until a 1998 Supreme Court case that changed the way sexual harassment was reported in the workforce.

"That's where a lot of the HR training came from for sexual harassment. So that companies could prove that they had sexual harassment training," said John Heaton. "The training doesn't seem like it's made much of a difference though."

The big question is--- does a simple video really prevent sexual harassment?

"There is a difference between being trained on what it is and defining it," said John Heaton. "That doesn't necessarily change the behavior patterns of people who have gone through the class."

Sometimes cases go on without ever being reported.

"There's no independent person they can go to outside of the company," said Heaton.

That's what John Heaton and his firm come into play- acting as a third party outlet.

"What we have done is developed very short videos that are easy to watch and be reminded of the issue, and have a place that employees can come to," said Heaton. "We do get anonymous calls from employees that say this is happening to me, so they need a place to turn."

Heaton believes the reason you're just now hearing about these cases, is because previously employees didn't have a safe place to report them.

"I think if the #metoo movement has had a positive effect. It's given them the courage to speak out without retribution," said Heaton.

Another thing employers can do is be more aware of what's happening in the workforce, and perhaps outsource to a company like Pay Plus; this way employees feel comfortable reporting something that may be happening in their work environment.

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