Workplace harassment has increased during the pandemic

This is the web version of The Broadsheet, a daily newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Kamala Harris’s trip continues in Mexico, Yeezy Gap debuts its first item, and workplace harassment may have increased during the pandemic. Have a great Wednesday.

– Workplace harassment goes remote. File this under ‘Disappointing, but no shock’: the pandemic-fueled transition to remote work has not ended workplace harassment. In fact, there’s some evidence it actually sparked more of it.

According to a Project Include report cited by this New York Times story on the subject, 25% of respondents said they experienced an increase in gender-based harassment during the pandemic, 10% said the same of hostility related to their race or ethnicity, and 23% of those 50 years and older reported a jump in age-related abuse.

The Times suggests that some people thought working from home might have tamped down harassment. That may be, though I wonder how much time those folks have spent on the Internet or communicating via the many digital platforms that have come to define modern office life.

The reality, as the piece reports, is that the isolation of working from home, one-on-one communication over Zoom, Slack, or the phone (with no one to witness or overhear), the informal, “no rules” feeling of working from your kitchen table in PJs, the blurred lines between work and life—it’s all fed into a murky stew that has, in some cases, emboldened harassers and, in many cases, put employees in a vulnerable position.

It seems clear that a lot of HR executives have missed the boat on this issue over the past year and a half. But it’s not too late! Indeed, having a strong policy about remote harassment, an effective way to report violations, and a clear procedure for how to address them (all good advice doled out in the NYT story) could be even more important as many companies tackle hybrid work, which seems the likely next step for many. If you thought going all-remote was chaotic and disorienting, just wait until we start seeing different people scattered across different locations on different days of the week. It’s not hard to imagine that such a setup will create new openings for harassment—and now’s the time to stop them before they start.

Kristen Bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Call to action. The Democratic Women's Caucus was never a major force on Capitol Hill. But with a Democratic administration, a record number of women in Congress, and investment in childcare now a top priority for the party, the caucus's chairs are working to change that. The push for childcare legislation, especially, was a motivator for the caucus to take action and hire its first-ever staff, the chairs tell Fortune. Fortune

- Travel itinerary. Vice President Kamala Harris's first foreign trip continued on to Mexico, where the veep kept focus on migration issues. Harris faced some criticism for not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, to which she responded that she was focusing on "root causes" of migration, especially while she was in Guatemala earlier this week. AP

- Puffer presale. The first item for sale as part of Kanye West's collaboration with Gap Inc., led by CEO Sonia Syngal, will be a $200 blue puffer jacket. The Yeezy Gap jacket is only available for pre-order right now, and Syngal has said to expect further developments in late 2021. Fortune

- Vroom vroom. The autonomous vehicle space is especially male-dominated. But Raquel Urtasun, a former exec at Uber Advanced Technology Group, is the founder of the new startup Waabi. The company just raised $83.5 million for its mission focusing on trucking and commercial delivery routes. The Verge

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Longtime exec Debbie Hewitt will be the first female chair of the U.K.'s Football Association. Glossier promoted SVP Ali Weiss to CMO. Bain & Co.'s Angela Crossman will join Noom as head of people.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- New admin, same DOJ decision. The Biden Justice Department will continue to defend President Trump in the defamation lawsuit brought against him by E. Jean Carroll, the writer who says Trump raped her in the 1990s. The DOJ says that Trump "acted in his official capacity" when he said Carroll lied about being raped—and that the issue at stake in this specific DOJ decision is whether the government is liable for "federal employees' actions within the scope of their employment." USA Today

- Color choice. What was it like to be one of few women working for Japanese automakers over the past few decades? Asako Hoshino, a longtime Nissan exec, says auto industry leaders used to think considering women's perspectives meant that women "should simply decide the car’s color"—nothing more. That's changed, Hoshino now says. Financial Times

- Over-credentialed. Why do companies rely on academic credentials as a measure of talent in hiring? Girls Who Code CEO Tarika Barrett argues that using degrees and GPAs as sole qualifiers is outdated and elitist. Fortune

ON MY RADAR

You may be paying a higher tax rate than a billionaire ProPublica

The women of UCLA brought joy back to gymnastics Glamour

Serena Williams ousted at French Open, will resume quest for 24th major at Wimbledon Washington Post

PARTING WORDS

"Where you are is not who you are (and remember that when you’re rich and famous)."

-The advice former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns got from her mother. Burns shares it in her new memoir. 

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet