Open offices have really become more popular in the last decade and a half. Many businesses have shifted away from having offices and cubicles, and they now offer large rooms with open tables and workstations. It creates a more community-based environment.
The reason for this is usually cost, productivity, culture, and/or trying to prevent sexual harassment. But could that office design really help to reduce claims of harassment by your employees?
Many allegations center around office encounters
After all, when allegations are made against executives and managers, they often focus on that person’s private office. Employees tell stories of getting called into an office where no one else can see what is happening, and then they are harassed or even assaulted behind closed doors. Because everything happens in closed quarters, the whole situation is at best a he-said, she-said dispute. It’s often the executive’s word against the employee’s word.
An open office also does away with certain office features that can be problematic. In one case, for instance, it was noted that the man accused of assaulting women in his office had an automatic lock on the door. He could activate it with a desk button. This was installed for security, but quickly raised questions about how else it could have been used. With no walls and no doors in a community-based setting, this situation simply can’t happen.
Are you facing allegations?
Whether you have an open office or not, if you’re facing allegations of harassment at work, it’s important to know all of the legal steps to take to defend yourself and/or your company.