Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

"You will never work in this town again."
"You are through in this trade."
"This is how the world turns, toots."
"Who are they going to believe a nobody like you or a respectable individual like myself?"
"Go ahead. I'd like to see you try to find a job after my lawyer is through with you."

Sexual harassment has been around since employment started. This hideous abuse of power continued through centuries and remains present during our times even as retaliation barriers are imposed against those who are brave enough to come forward, especially when the sexual harasser is a public figure.

And although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made sexual harassment in the workplace illegal; it wasn't until the 70s that "sexual harassment" became a phrase and the first sexual harassment lawsuit was filed. The #MeToo movement that went viral in October 2017 unified sexual harassment victims, primarily due to the collective realization that often abusers or those engaged in sexual misconduct have a behavioral track record and a list of victims. We saw the bravery of one woman pointing the finger at her accuser, release a tsunami of accusations from other women and men who had also endured offensive, demeaning, inappropriate sexual behavior from the same person being accused or from someone else with the power to negatively influence their career. The movement did more than place harassers in the spotlight; it put center stage the severe ongoing intimidation and abuse of power against sexual harassment victims across the United States bringing about resignations from top executives in all trades from Hollywood to Silicon Valley. In fact, an All-America Survey found that 27 percent of women and 10 percent of men had been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment is illegal as it is a civil rights violation and sexual harassment acts may also be criminal. The law makes it unlawful to harass a person because of their sex, whether is an employee, an applicant, a coworker, or a customer. The law protects you against unwelcome conduct such as frequent or severe comments that might not be sexual, but are gender offensive and create a hostile environment in the workplace. Sexual harassment can also quickly cross the line to sexual assault and result in criminal charges being filed if there are allegations of physical intimidation, unwanted touching, or coercion.

It is important to note that once you report sexual harassment, even if it is to your boss or HR, you will be protected by the federal anti-retaliation provision of Title VII and also your state's law will generally protect you. However, you still need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A sexual harassment attorney can ensure that all procedures are followed.

Sexual harassment lawsuits are filed in civil court against the individual or the business. A sexual harassment attorney will advise you on the best action to take, the monetary recovery you might be entitled to and whether criminal charges should also be filed. In cases of allegations of sexual assault, the state can also bring a criminal lawsuit that can result in jail time for the abuser.

Sexual harassment is a serious offense. Everyone has the legal right not to be violated at the workplace.


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