When the #MeToo movement broke open, Lisa Gelobter, 46, a former technology executive at BET (Black Entertainment Television) and Hulu, embraced “a moment of clarity.” She wanted to take her familiarity with discrimination — “when you’re a black woman in tech or in entertainment, it’s day in and day out” — and co-found a start-up, tEQuitable, to help companies and employees address issues of bias, discrimination, harassment and the uncomfortable situations that fall in between.
TEQuitable is among a wave of businesses emerging in the wake of widespread revelations of sexual misconduct in workplaces.
The new start-ups take a number of approaches.
A website and an app that functions as an independent third party where an employee can confidentially discuss a complaint and get assistance with how to address it. On the back end, the service is a digital platform that collects data to measure the performance and progress of a company — and uncover systemic patterns. It then shares the data, which could include everything from employee services to reports about a particular executive, and it provides recommendations for improving the workplace culture.
Helps employees anonymously report harassment, offers a platform aimed directly at the CEO and board and was created by a former 20th Century Fox vice president.
Launched with its first clients in November, works with employers to offer workers a third-party, independent human resources “coach” they can call to sound out conflicts or communication problems they face at work, in an effort to fill the “trust gap” between employees and the human resources department.
Uses artificial intelligence and, by cross referencing thousands of legal documents and complaints related to sexual harassment, predicts whether a user’s experience might represent a violation of the law in the United States or Canada.
Created by two female engineers in Silicon Valley, offers a how-to guide for people harassed at work.
Started as an app to address school bullying, but has begun selling to workplaces.
Employees within a company can chat anonymously.
The trend follows a spike in start-ups in recent years focused on broader issues of gender diversity and bias.
A tech platform that works to get more women on corporate boards, launched in early 2016.
Analyzes hiring data to help companies write and format effective job listings. Among other things, it helps companies cut down on bias by eliminating phrases such as “coding ninja” or “fast-paced work environment” that have been shown to attract more white males.
Offers candidate profiles to employers without names or photos to help prevent unconscious bias.
A recent data analysis by the Pew Research Center found that women experience such slights at nearly three times the rate men do at work. Sixteen percent of women — and 29 percent of women with advanced degrees — said they had received repeated, small slights at work, compared with just 5 percent of men. Twenty-three percent of women said they felt they had been treated as if they were not competent, compared with just 6 percent of men.