A former pro baseball player created an app to 'end harassment in your workplace' - but it might not be the perfect solution

A former pro baseball player created an app to 'end harassment in your workplace' - but it might not be the perfect solution

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Steve Sax, the creator of BeeAmicable, says the app is a way for employees to confront harassers in the workplace.

  • A former MLB player has created a sexual harassment prevention app called BeeAmicable.
  • He created it after going through a divorce.
  • A sexual harassment lawyer we spoke to says the app could actually open companies up to more litigation.

A former Major League Baseball player thinks he has a solution to alleviate workplace sexual harassment. But we asked an expert, and she thinks his approach could be a little off-base.

Steve Sax, who played for the Yankees, Dodgers, and White Sox in the 80s and 90s, is the major driving force behind BeeAmicable, an app that's billed as a way 'end harassment in your workplace.' So far, the app has six corporate clients and 25 individual users, says Sax.

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In short, the app helps victims of harassment sent out a pre-written, time-stamped note, so they don't have to face a perpetrator in person. Because the app keeps a log of your correspondence, it can be used when approaching Human Resources with a formal complaint.

Sax first thought of the idea for the app in 2011. He had recently been through a divorce, as had several of his friends, and he thought an app that allowed the people going through a divorce to communicate would help the process. Then he pivoted. It would save companies money, he thought, if there were a way to prevent sexual harassment lawsuits.


"I started thinking about that in business and what was plaguing business was the fact that there's so much litigation and company disarray and one of the biggest ones is because of sexual harassment," Sax said. "That's how I started thinking about this harassment app."

Sax doesn't have a technical background, so he enlisted Scott Warner, a Utah-based entrepreneur and an avid baseball fan, and his company Gigg to build the app itself. BeeAmicable had been in the works before the rise of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, says Sax, but he says that the app is available at the right time.

"This will help with some of the stigma and fear of retaliation attached to coming forward," Sax said.

So what's the problem?

We asked Amy Oppenheimer, an attorney specializing in workplace harassment, for her take on BeeAmicable. She was troubled by the fact that the app can be optionally used to confront a harasser without consulting the HR department.

"One of the problems with the app is that is keeps the employers out of the loop and, really, it's the employer's responsibility to be responding," Oppenheimer said. "It makes it more of an individual issue than an employment issue."


She says that while she understands that victims don't always trust the HR department to act in their best interests, it's a more sustainable solution to build the relationship between employer and employee.


Courtesy of Bee Amicable

An example note from Bee Amicable.

Sax responds to this criticism by saying that the app doesn't necessarily leave HR out of the equation: If you're a corporate customer of BeeAmicable, the HR department gets a dashboard showing how many messages were sent, and when - but not necessarily what's in them.

"People may send a note where HR doesn't read it. It doesn't mean we're cutting HR out," Sax said. "It means that they're going to try and get this thing handled on their own when there's no need to raise a lot of suspicion about it."

"What if 15%-20% of cases that got litigated or cases that were brought to HR that were a problem, didn't have to be and they could be handled by the person themselves?" he continued.


But Oppenhiemer sees this as counterproductive. She tells Business Insider BeeAmicable might actually increase litigation costs for companies because may be put in a position where HR isn't aware of harassment.

"So you're going to get litigation about what the company knew or should have known," she said. "What companies want is that people go to HR so they can solve it."

Ultimately, Sax says, he doesn't see BeeAmicable as a silver bullet for fixing harassment, but that's it's still a useful tool.

"We believe that the BeeAmicable harassment app is not necessarily gong to be a cure because there's going to be incidents in work space where people are going to be stupid and say things and do things they shouldn't do," said Sax. "But this certainly changes the game as far as harassment goes."