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SPLF Employment Blog

Why Following the ‘Pence Rule’ in the Workplace Is a Bad Idea

In light of recent sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood and beyond, male managers are considering practicing the ‘Pence Rule’ in their workplaces. This misconception could land these men in legal trouble. A variation of the so-known ‘Pence Rule’ was originally used by the Southern Baptist minister, Billy Graham. The rule is that a man should not be alone behind a closed door with any woman other than his wife.

Following such conduct in a workplace would mean that male and female employees cannot have a private conversation, but two men can. Put simply, this is unequal treatment of employees based on their gender. This rule essentially prevents women from engaging in private conversations with men, meaning there are excluded from vital decision making.

There is also no proof that this method would prevent sexual misconduct in a company, because sexual harassment can also occur through the phone or email. In addition, the Pence Rule doesn’t provide any legal immunity and could only contribute to the defense against you. However, there are other practices you can adopt in order to protect yourself from sexual harassment allegations. This article by Tom Spiggle, a sexual harassment attorney who founded the Spiggle Law Firm, explains in this article how it is essential to maintain an equality-based company culture and have proper training in place for all employees.

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