Sexual harassers should lose their jobs — Facebook COO

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 11, 2017.
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SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc chief operating officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg said no one should have to go to work fearing sexual harassment, and one way to eliminate that fear is for companies to have a zero-tolerance policy for such behaviour.

“I think it’s great when people lose their jobs when it happens, because I think that is what will get people to not do it in the future,” Sandberg said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang. “And I think this is a leadership challenge. As a leader of a company, there needs to be no tolerance for it.”

Sandberg, one of the technology industry’s highest-profile female executives, spoke out as Silicon Valley grapples with an increasing number of harassment scandals — leading to the firings of venture capitalists and executives at Uber and other companies.

“It’s abominable that it still exists in this day and age,” Sandberg said — though she added that it doesn’t mean the companies involved are beyond saving. Uber, which came under fire for a culture that some say failed to punish discrimination and harassment, is currently searching for a new chief executive officer after its board ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick. While Sandberg doesn’t want the top job at the ride-hailing company, she had advice for whoever takes it.

“People respond to what’s tolerated and what’s encouraged,” she said. “And I think a great leader can change the culture of I think almost any company in almost any situation. You put in new policies, you have new procedures, your language is different; I’m always optimistic.” — Bloomberg