Two key ways for companies to show they take harassment seriously


Scot Lehigh (“How companies can stop sexual harassment,” Opinion, Nov. 3) posits two ways in which organizations can address sexual harassment. However, he fails to mention the two most effective: external investigation and independent internal officers.

In 2006, when Cardinal Sean O’Malley balked at the recommendation of Helen Drinan, as senior vice president of human resources, to fire Dr. Robert Haddad at Caritas Christi, the former chief counsel of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination was assigned to investigate, along with four others. The investigators agreed with Drinan, and the cardinal acquiesced.


Changes to the organizational structure can also help stop sexual harassment. Most financial institutions have a chief ethics and compliance officer who reports violations directly to the board of directors. In the public sector, federal agencies appoint an inspector general to ensure congressional compliance.

Widespread adoption of either approach, or both, in the corporate world would send a clear signal that senior management is included in the process of an independent investigation and disposition of all allegations of substance.

John Poirier


The writer is a specialist in human resources development and management, and is senior lecturer in human resources at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.