Chamber Discusses #MeToo Issue

“Sexual Harassment in a #MeToo Society” was the featured topic covered at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce’s most recent luncheon.

Panelists Leah Setzen, Kevin McCarthy and David Carpenter explored how the #MeToo movement has changed the climate surrounding sexual misconduct and how to identify and handle sexual harassment.

“Anytime anybody feels uncomfortable in the workplace,” said Carpenter, Regional Vice President of Human Resources at Securitas USA. “Anytime somebody says something that is inappropriate. What might be sexual harassment for Kevin right now may not be sexual harassment for me.”

The panelists discussed different examples of sexual harassment, common misconceptions and how it’s treated different than other crimes.

“It doesn’t have to be based on sexual desire,” said Setzen, a partner at Grunyk Family Law. “It could be derogatory sexual comments about someone. It could be negative sexual comment about someone they found unattractive.”

Sexual misconduct tends to be one of the only crime-based things that we are like ‘Are you sure that happened?’” said McCarthy, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at North Central College. “If someone comes to you and says ‘they stole my wallet’ or ‘someone broke into my car’ we don’t say, ‘are you sure?’ But we do that oftentimes with sexual misconduct related things in our culture.”

Much of the discussion revolved around what to do after an incident was reported – an important takeaway for many.

“Never dismiss any type of sexual harassment brought by an employee” said Brian McClowry, a financial advisor for Country Financial. “You need to acknowledge it, listen, and find out what the issue was and address the problem.”

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

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