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Written Testimony of Lisa Gelobter tEQuitable

My name is Lisa Gelobter and I am the CEO and Co-Founder of tEQuitable, where we are using technology to make workplaces more equitable.

tEQuitable's goal is to help companies get in front of and prevent harassment. We've created an independent, confidential platform to address issues of bias, discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

My Co-Founder, Heidi Williams, and I have a long track record of using technology to solve seemingly intractable problems. Given the raised level of awareness of the staggering extent of discrimination and harassment, we are using this opportunity to try to create effective change. We have built a 3rd party, tech-enabled Ombuds program.

tEQuitable is the only platform implementing solutions to proactively stop harassment, not just reactively catch harassers after the fact.

What is an Ombuds?

The concept of an Organizational Ombuds has existed for decades and can be found in academia, government, and many private corporations around the globe, including American Express, McKinsey, Coca-cola, Chevron, Mars, etc….

Using an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approach, an Organizational Ombuds provides a safe place to address workplace concerns.

As the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) describes it: "The primary duties of an organizational ombudsman are (1) to work with individuals and groups in an organization to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns, and (2) to bring systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution."


We live by 4 principles:

  • Independent - we are not beholden to the company's management structure.
  • Confidential - we will neither confirm nor deny we've even spoken to you.
  • Impartial - we don't advocate for the employee, we don't advocate for the company, we advocate for fairness.
  • Off-the-record - telling us something is not serving notice to the company.

This approach is tried and true; studies have proven that it works.

As Williams and Thacker wrote for the American Bar Association (ABA): "critical and effective formal channels are not enough to ensure risk mitigation, transparency and an ethical culture…. a complete and successful dispute resolution system needs the capabilities of the formal channels and also those of an informal (Organizational Ombudsman) channel."ii

tEQuitable has taken that same traditional Organizational Ombuds model and we're applying it to software, modernizing it, making it scalable and bringing it to industries and companies that haven't had exposure to it.

How does it work?

For Employees - a confidential sounding board: We provide employees with a sounding board where they can explore and learn about their options, or choose to speak with a professional advisor, confidentially. They develop an action plan to address the issue directly with their co-worker or to file a formal complaint.

For Companies - data and recommendations: We use the data we gather, anonymized and aggregated, to identify systemic issues within an organization's culture. We create a report for the management team with trend data, alongside effective prevention strategies and actionable recommendations. We provide a learning platform for employees (including allies and bystanders) in the moment, as well as an early warning system for the company. We want to help companies create a culture where "if you see something, say something."

Our goal is to work on both sides of the equation to create a virtuous circle and effect real change.

The problems we address

Due to the recent press, a lot of people are focused on issues of sexual assault. But bias, discrimination and harassment are intersectional.

We handle all class of issues: not just around gender, but also race, transphobia, homophobia, age-ism, immigration status, parental status, etc…

We also help tackle issues ranging from subtle, insidious slights and invalidations to overt discrimination and harassment.

This is especially important - implementing interventions earlier can prevent issues from ever escalating.

What organizations is it intended for?

In the same way a few years ago, companies came to realize that network breaches and security were a serious corporate risk, boards and executives are now especially conscious of the fiduciary responsibility they have to mitigate the threat of discrimination and harassment. tEQuitable is launching with industries that are known to have issues: tech, media & entertainment, finance, legal, restaurants & hospitality. And we will expand from there.

These are not just white collar problems. There are 3 billion employees globally and as long as there continues to be bias, discrimination and harassment in the workplace, we have work to do.


We envision a future where everyone can bring their whole, and best, selves to work. tEQuitable:

  • Supports and empowers employees
  • Helps companies identify and address issues early, before they escalate.
  • Helps companies make real change.

tEQuitable's mission is to help create a work culture that works for everyone.


i Ombudsman.aspx

ii cker_filling_the_gap.authcheckdam.pdf