#MeToo Spells Trouble for Them Too: Sexual Harassment Scandals and the Corporate Board

Comment by Erin Morrissey

These days, a freshly scandalous news story is as American as apple pie and sport utility vehicles.  Amidst a relentless revolving door of news about electoral controversies, nuclear threats, impassioned activist demonstrations, and domestic political turmoil, one hot-button issue has commandeered headlines with a particular staying power: sexual harassment.  From the Harveys of Hollywood to the oval office occupant and his most recent appointee to the United States Supreme Court, accused sexual harassers have been thrust into the national spotlight with unprecedented vigor.

In this Comment, Erin Morrissey considers the corporate board of directors’ responsibility for these controversies that threaten to sink entire companies.  This Comment argues that the corporate board will likely reckon with sexual harassment issues in a range of ways and that boards must be proactive in their efforts to address the failings in corporate culture that precipitate these problems.  This Comment begins by offering a brief sketch of the legal framework for bringing sexual harassment claim and explaining the ways in which sexual harassment might harm a corporation.  The Comment also surveys the ways in which shareholders might push back against directors whose efforts to curb workplace sexual misconduct have fallen short.  The Comment also details the detrimental effects of forced arbitration on both victims and companies and explains why that system could—and perhaps should—become a thing of the past.  The Comment concludes by exploring whether the #MeToo movement has led to significant changes in corporate culture and offers recommendations for boards going forward. 

About the Author

J.D./M.A. candidate, 2019, Tulane University Law School; B.A. 2011, University of Kansas


93 Tul. L. Rev. 177 (2018)