Faculty Notes

Prof. Ronald Colombo Quoted on Weinstein Conviction in Agenda

Ronald J. Colombo, Professor of Law

MeToo Conviction Brings ‘Psychological’ Impact
By Jennifer Williams-Alvarez
March 16, 2020

For more than two years, the MeToo movement has reverberated through companies and boardrooms. Executives have been ousted from their positions related to misconduct accusations. Hotline complaints on harassment have increased by 18% between 2016 and 2018, according to an annual report from Navex Global. So-called Weinstein Clauses have made their way into M&A negotiations, as Bloomberg has reported.

And in some circumstances, the conduct has been met with criminal consequences, underscoring the outside limits of accountability for powerful individuals accused of sexual misconduct, attorneys say.

Weinstein’s conviction may additionally embolden witnesses in similar circumstances to come forward, says Ronald Colombo, law professor in the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. It’s not that it is now easier or more difficult for accusers to come forward, or that the law has changed in these cases, but Weinstein’s case “broadcasts” to victims that speaking out can work, explains Colombo, a former in-house attorney at Morgan Stanley.

In the corporate context, that intensifies the already existing incentive for management and board members to “self-police,” he says. “Companies are voluntarily implementing controls and policies to prevent this [kind of conduct] because they don’t want to be the company that harbors the next Weinstein.”

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