When CEOs, spiritual leaders, and even the dean of a major law school are in the news for being accused of sexual harassment, you may well wonder how they got so far in their careers without being challenged for their inappropriate behavior. After all, workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination were prohibited by the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Why hadn't they got the message?
Last month, we gave readers a refresher course on the two basic types of workplace sexual harassment: Quid pro quo and hostile work environment. While such information is common knowledge to HR professionals and attorneys, it may not be well known among the general public.
Now that Christmas is just a week away, stores could not be busier. Many retail employees are making good money working overtime to keep up with the demand of holiday shoppers buying last-minute gifts. Major retailers also bring in seasonal workers with the understanding that their employment will only last through the end of the year.
Individuals who have been victims of unwelcome behavior at work often wonder if what they experienced is sexual harassment. They may be hesitant to complain if they are unsure, even if they know they want the behavior to stop.
Lawsuits alleging workplace sexual harassment often make the news for a number of reasons, including the fact that the details sometimes seem too outrageous to be true. Unfortunately, truth can be stranger than fiction.
Last week, we began a discussion about an allegedly major sexual harassment problem at a Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in the Midwest. Although the case did not occur here in California, it is seemingly an example of the type of workplace culture that often exists in manufacturing and factory jobs around the country.
We have previously written about the problem of sexual harassment in professions traditionally thought of as “men’s work.” This includes factory and manufacturing work. Whether here in California or other parts of the country women who work in these jobs face sexual harassment risks that tend to be higher than those seen in many other professions.
California has long had laws against sexual harassment in the workplace. This includes sexual comments or behaviors that create a “hostile work environment.” The terminology reflects the important truth that sexual harassment is more about power and control than it is about lust.
If we truly want to improve respect in the workplace and reduce workplace sexual harassment, we may need to address the much more pervasive problem of street harassment. Workplace sexual harassment and street sexual harassment are different, but only so in terms of their legal remedies.
It has long been observed (and studies have confirmed) that women who work in restaurant jobs are at high risk for being sexually harassed. A recent study, however, shows that the problem is even worse than previously reported.