by Loren G. Edelstein | January 2, 2018

Loren Edelstein, editor in chief of Meetings & Conventions magazineWe didn't need a survey to learn that sexual harassment is prevalent in the meetings industry. It was, unfortunately, no surprise that almost two-thirds of respondents to M&C's timely poll (of males and females) have personally experienced it in the workplace.

What did surprise me, though, were the strong and divergent feelings expressed among our 250 survey respondents. One question asked whether you worry that people are being wrongly accused, and if you believe there's a fine line between harassment and sexual advances.

Among the many who cried foul was a female respondent who said, "People do not lie about sexual harassment. I'm disgusted that those are even clickable options in this survey."

However, the collective responses told another story. Nearly one-third overall (22 percent of women and 44 percent of men) are concerned about false accusations. And, almost half of you do believe the line between "hitting on" vs. harassing someone is murky, again with more men (56 percent) vs. women (44 percent) in agreement. (Click these links to read many more verbatim comments, plus survey results by gender.)

One thing we can all agree on: Meeting planners need an action plan for handling incidents of sexual misconduct. We asked our legal expert, Jonathan Howe, to provide guidelines; click here for his sage advice, and a sample policy.

Thank you for sharing your opinions on this important topic - as well as some highly personal #MeToo tales that underscore the need for openness and change.