What Happens in Vegas…Corporate ‘Sexual’ Responsibility?

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What Happens in Vegas…Corporate ‘Sexual’ Responsibility?

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Why what happens in #Vegas matters to business. New @BSRnews blog from @christinebader http://ow.ly/iBcoX #IWD2013 #CSR
Monday, March 11, 2013 - 8:00am

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Some would argue that companies have no claim on what their employees do on their own time. But is there really such a thing as “after hours” anymore?

How people spend their personal time is clearly fair game for employment decisions: Most CEOs in the New York Times’ weekly “Corner Office” column ask job candidates about their personal lives, for clues as to how they’ll work and whether they’ll be a good corporate ambassador. And there’s no shortage of stories about job hopes dashed by Facebook indiscretions.

Employees‘ behavior related to sex and gender are legitimate grounds for corporate intervention: Most jurisdictions require companies to do antidiscrimination and anti-harassment training, and more business leaders now believe that creating a culture of inclusivity and respect is not just a matter of compliance but of competitive advantage.

So what should companies do? First, they can explicitly ban sexual exploitation in their codes of conduct, making it clear what is unacceptable and giving staff cover for stepping away from or calling out bad behavior. They can also join initiatives like the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking to develop and share best practices, such as employee training modules.

Most importantly, companies must recognize that human trafficking and modern-day slavery are one of those massive global challenges for which the private sector can be part of the problem or part of the solution. If companies are to meet their responsibility to treat people with respect and dignity, they must start with how employees behave—on, off, and around the clock.

Christine Bader is a Human Rights Advisor to BSR. Follow her on Twitter: @christinebader.