MCS Partner Steve Thomas Highlights #MeToo’s Impact on Workplace Culture
The latest DCEO magazine commentary by MCS shareholder Steve Thomas focuses on how the #MeToo social media movement that came to a head in 2018 has shaken up corporate boardrooms and the C-suites more rapidly and in a more dramatic fashion than decades of EEOC workplace discrimination litigation.
In his article, “In the Age of Social Media, CEOs are Under Intense Scrutiny,” Thomas details the growing list of executives to face swift discipline as a result of allegations aired out on social media using the #MeToo hashtag. The high-profile departures in 2018 included Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher, who lasted only seven weeks as CEO following a 22-year career at TI.
“Despite a long-time legal ban on workplace discrimination (via Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and thousands of sexual discrimination lawsuits, as much as 60 percent of working women say they continue to encounter hostile behaviors or comments based on their gender. Yet now, social media, illustrated by the #MeToo movement, appears to be accomplishing more—and far faster—than statutes and courts ever could. Public awareness and negative reaction are forcing CEOs to be accountable for far more than sexual harassment, and in extraordinarily short periods of time.”
Thomas argues that the actions facing business leaders are not because executives are less ethical today, but instead because “the public is more vocal, regulators are more proactive and punitive and because digital communications and the 24/7 news cycle spread word of the conduct… The social media pen indeed can prove mightier than the judicial sword. The Internet’s pervasive immediacy has empowered social causes with a vast audience – more frightening to corporations than any black robe.”