Companies should have a zero-tolerance policy to sexual harassment, with offenders losing their jobs, Facebook's (fb) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Wednesday.
“I think it’s great when people lose their jobs when it happens, because I think that is what will get people to not do it in the future,” Sandberg said in an interview for Bloomberg Television. “And I think this is a leadership challenge. As a leader of a company, there needs to be no tolerance for it.”
Her comments come as a series of sexism scandals have rocked Silicon Valley. One of the most high profile of these occurred at Uber, whose board ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick in June. In a February blogpost, a former Uber employee alleged she had endured sexual harassment at the company, and detailed the permissive culture that let it continue.
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“People respond to what’s tolerated and what’s encouraged,” Sandberg said when asked what advice she had for Uber's next leader. “And I think a great leader can change the culture of I think almost any company in almost any situation. You put in new policies, you have new procedures, your language is different; I’m always optimistic.”
This week, an employee of Sandberg's former employer Google was fired for circulating a memo that criticized the company's diversity efforts and said biological differences were partly responsible for the lack of women in tech jobs.