LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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management 101 basic. It's amazing how many of the country's most powerful and successful companies still miss those basics. Don't let your organization be one of them. In Memoriam: The Loss Prevention Community Remembers Rob Shields By Loss Prevention Media Staff Rob Shields, a long-tenured and highly respected member of the loss prevention community, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Wednesday, May 16. A friend and mentor to many across the industry, Rob had a passion for helping others within the community and across the industry through various charitable efforts to include local food pantries, various church-related functions, and the Loss Prevention Benevolent Fund, where he served as treasurer since the inception of the charitable organization directly benefiting those who have served the loss prevention industry. Rob is survived by his wife, Joanne, and daughters, Cassidy and Madison. Serving as director of global loss prevention field operations, Rob spent more than twenty-one years with Staples. He joined the Staples team in April of 1997 after spending ten years with CVS Pharmacy, taking on positions with additional responsibility throughout his tenure with the company. His passion for serving both his company and his team and his support for the entire loss prevention community will be warmly remembered by those that knew him. "Rob was one of the most generous human beings I've ever met," recalled one colleague. "He was more than just a mentor—he was a close friend to so many that worked with him and for him over the years. He was always there for support and guidance and had a deep passion for the loss prevention industry and those who served alongside him. He will be deeply missed." 4 Steps for a Swift and Effective Investigation of Sexual Harassment in Retail By Garett Seivold The daily work of retailers typically seems a world apart from the goings-on in the entertainment industry or government, but #MeToo movement reverberations are being felt well beyond Hollywood and Washington, DC. As victims find their voices across industries, behavior that may have remained buried in the past is now more likely to be the subject of complaints and forced into the light. Are companies ready? Not according to their lawyers. In a February 2018 poll, 46 percent of outside counsel surveyed said employers aren't taking workplace sexual harassment training, prevention, and response "seriously enough." "The #MeToo movement is an important wake-up call to corporate America," said Stephen Hirschfeld, CEO and founder of the Employment Law Alliance, which conducted the survey of 382 attorneys. "Company directors and executives need to understand that this isn't a fad." Retail companies face greater risk than most firms do. In an October 2017 study by Rand Corporation, one in five workers said they face a hostile or threatening environment at work, which can include sexual harassment and bullying. And retail workers and other workers who have to face customers endure a disproportionate share of the abuse, according to the survey. In a highly publicized environment, as today's world surely is, sexual harassment carries additional reputational risk for retailers. Additionally, the threat of legal action is ever present. In March, for example, a New Jersey federal judge rejected a motion by a national auto parts retailer to dismiss a worker's sexual harassment suit. The judge ruled that the statute of limitations' clock started to tick when the worker received a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, and not when the violations occurred. The retail worker is alleging she was subjected to sexual harassment at three different locations as she was moved from store to store following complaints of harassment. The alleged harassment included unwanted sexual advancements and a coworker telling customers she was a prostitute. Overall, sex discrimination, which includes allegations of sexual harassment, is the third-leading cause of discrimination claims, accounting for roughly 30 percent of claims, according to EEOC data. Smart Investigation Practices When It Comes to Sexual Harassment in Retail The climate surrounding sexual harassment has employers on edge, according to their lawyers. More than 70 percent of outside counsel report that their clients are worried about a "rush to judgment" when harassment complaints are made. Additionally, 51 percent of company leaders feel some measure of pressure to publicize results and disciplinary actions following a misconduct investigation, according to the survey of outside counsel. Clearly, the stakes are high—and perhaps higher than ever given today's environment—for getting a sexual harassment investigation right. So how can a retailer reduce the likelihood that employees will criticize the sufficiency of an investigation? Not every employee allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct is legitimate. Some complaints are proved to be unsubstantiated and may be made in an effort to avoid disciplinary action or out of personal animus. Even when legitimate, an employee who alleges harassment may not be satisfied with the manner in which an investigation is conducted, and he or she may dispute the outcome. In short, there are plenty of reasons why an organization's investigation process may be to be called into question—or be subject to lawsuit. One reason investigations shouldn't draw fire, however, is because of a lack of clarity and communication with the complainant. Anxiety typically accompanies complaints of sexual misconduct, and in the absence of communication, complainants are likely to assume the worst about an investigation—even if the security organization is following investigation best practices. Some causes for dispute are hard to avoid, but a failure to communicate with complainants is an unforced error. From experts in security and human resource investigations, we examine four Rob Shields 60 JULY–AUGUST 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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