Today, Facebook publicly shared its internal policies on sexual harassment in an effort to allow other companies — especially smaller ones that don't have the resources to craft their own — to learn from the tech giant.
"We are by no means perfect, and there will always be bad actors," Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and VP of People Lori Goler said in a statement. "Unlike law enforcement agencies, companies don't have access to forensic evidence and instead have to rely on reported conversations, written evidence, and the best judgment of investigators and legal experts. What we can do is be as transparent as possible, share best practices, and learn from one another — recognizing that policies will evolve as we gain experience."
Making the announcement against the backdrop of multiple sexual harassment allegations involving powerful men — including in the tech industry — Facebook promises a "zero tolerance policy." This means people found guilty will be fired or moved elsewhere in the company. "When we don't feel we can make a termination decision, we take other actions designed to help everyone feel safe, including changing people's roles and reporting."
Another key aspect of the policy is to keep everyone accountable, so "anyone who is silent or looks the other way is complicit." Facebook also requires harassment training for new employees, so they understand what's expected of them off the bat. And if an employee reports wrongdoing, the company has an investigation process that "protects employees from stigma or retaliation."
"We're very vocal with our community that if there is a hint of something, we want you to come to the resources we have with our human resources team, investigations, or legal team for people to weigh into this and do something about this," Maxine Williams, global director of diversity at Facebook, told Bloomberg News.