Companies dealing with a public sexual harassment claim likely address the matter using PR and HR, but they almost never coordinate efforts between the two camps. For HR, this gap in communication and strategy can reduce chances of bringing in top talent, who will go instead to companies with positive brands. It can also create risk and liability as others may also share their stories publicly - which then become part of the litigation. For PR, the gap in communication and strategy increases risk and brand reputation that can set off a catastrophic media firestorm, thanks to social media.
Business owners, executive management, human resources and marketing executives should make time to arm themselves with proven tips and tactics in combating what continues to be an avalanche of #MeToo accusations. It's not a question of "if", but "when," for every company out there. Even if you have a policy and conduct harassment training, then you're not in the clear. Current prevention standards are way under par, which is how we got here. So even if you're taking the steps your attorney told you take, you're not actually preventing harassment or bullying. Truly, people are people and they will make bad jokes, jump on the bandwagon when poking fun at the newbie, or become too friendly at happy hour. When a complaint is made most companies rely on HR to resolve it satisfactorily. But the complainant can discuss their side of the story on social media, and if they are not satisfied with the results of an investigation or HR's actions (or perceived lack thereof) they will surely shout their story from the rooftops. For these reasons and more, every company should consider partnering with their PR consultant or in-house representative to develop a plan, so when that complaint comes HR is armed to handle the potential media storm, and PR is armed to assist in the court of public opinion.