The Best Way to Prevent Abusive People Entering Your Organization? Ask For Confidential Feedback From Past Colleagues…


The past weeks until even now reveals nothing but an apparent history of ongoing harassment, abuse and scandals throughout Hollywood. Why is this the case particularly against highly worshipped celebrities, actors, and directors?

A mental health expert weighs in, explaining that for people in power, “their expectation is that there will be no consequences”. Outside of Hollywood, the same social construct of abusive people in power applies to our everyday lives. Many working professional are taking their #MeToo campaigns to LinkedIn as a means to address harassment in the workplace. What can we do to prevent this type of behavior in a workplace setting?


Placing strict consequences and policies of zero-tolerance towards sexual harassment may result in limited deterrence initially, but doesn’t address the issue of these types of people entering in the first place. Background checks only reveal so much in the context of legal and criminal offenses which were caught; the word of references carry much more weight as caution especially if coming from multiple feedback providers.

A solution may lie with a combination of technology and collective intelligence. From a broader perspective, sexual harassment victims (and witnesses) don’t report the behavior they experience due to fear of retaliation or even shame. With a digital reference checking tool, feedback can be collected confidentially from multiple references which protects them, and gives insight to how a candidate may have treated subordinates and colleagues in the past.

What if prior to landing any gigs at Hollywood or elsewhere, these accused actors and directors underwent a simple confidential reference check which raised red flags for the organizations they went on to work for?