Sexual Harassment

16 11, 2019

What Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment Looks Like

By |2019-11-16T04:42:16+00:00November 16th, 2019|Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

And What to Do If It Happens to You One of your co-workers makes inappropriate comments about your appearance at work. The comments are frequent enough to create a hostile work environment. So you follow the policy your employer has laid out, and report that person to Human Resources. The next week, you’re out of a job. This is a very clear example of retaliation—and it’s all too common. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of all the federal-sector allegations of workplace discrimination, retaliation was the most common allegation—and the most frequent finding. Employers do this kind of thing all the time. Sometimes, as in the example above, retaliation is obvious. But sometimes it’s more subtle. Here are a few scenarios that may be retaliation, if you experience them after reporting sexual harassment. Your schedule suddenly changes Workers facing retaliation may find their schedules rearranged so they have to work on a requested day off, or their work schedule now conflicts with something important—such as classes or picking up a child from school. You’re being demoted If you find yourself demoted to a lower-ranking position, moved to a worse shift, or given different or less desirable duties after [...]

26 07, 2019

An Unintended Side Effect of #MeToo: More Women Are Getting Fired

By |2019-07-26T01:16:33+00:00July 26th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

How Women Can Fight Back Against Retaliation According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment cases were up 13.6% in 2018—probably because of increased awareness driven by the #MeToo movement. In a way, that’s good news. It shows that women have higher expectations for treatment at work; they’re less willing to put up with bad behavior; and they feel more empowered to speak up. Unfortunately, as a recent news story illustrates, many women are paying the price for this new-found empowerment in the form of negative—and often unlawful— repercussions. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on, and then discuss what you can do if you’ve been a victim of retaliation. Retaliation on the Rise So what happens after a woman speaks up about unfair treatment—after they file a claim? That’s where the statistics get a little more disheartening. The EEOC reports that retaliation cases are by far the most common kind they handle—representing more than half of the organization’s caseload. And approximately three quarters of sexual harassment charges include retaliation. A recent Vox article highlights the depth of the problem. The more people stand up against sexual harassment, the more likely they’ll get fired or retaliated [...]

12 06, 2019

When Your Manager Is Sexually Harassing You

By |2019-07-16T19:46:36+00:00June 12th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

1 in 3 people have witnessed a superior being inappropriate Often, employees who are experiencing sexual harassment are told to talk to their boss. But what if your boss is the one doing the harassing? According to a recent Randstad study, power and authority often contribute strongly to workplace gender dynamics—and those interactions can turn toxic. Some of the eye-opening statistics found in the study include: Over one in three employees (36%) have witnessed someone in a more powerful position take advantage of a person in a less powerful position at work. 29% of women and 20% of men have experienced unwanted advances from a supervisor. (The number rises to 35% for men and women aged 18-34). Almost one in four women (24%) believe they’ve suffered career setbacks because they refused advances from someone in authority. 57% of women and 39% of men would leave their jobs if they found out an executive in their company was providing privileges to employees in exchange for sexual favors. Sound Familiar? Here’s What to Do If your boss is behaving inappropriately toward you or anyone else at work, there are some things you can do to take control of the situation. Document the [...]

5 06, 2019

Half of Employees Report Ignoring Sexual Harassment

By |2019-07-16T19:46:25+00:00June 5th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

People often stay quiet out of fear Believe it or not, a recent study revealed that over half of people haven’t spoken up after witnessing seen sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the survey by Randstand, “while 51% of both men and women surveyed say they know a woman who has been sexually harassed at work, 50% admit they haven’t spoken up after hearing a colleague make an inappropriate comment about a person of the opposite sex.” The reason? In cases where sexual harassment is happening to someone else, most people aren’t sure what to do. And, no doubt, a fear of retaliation plays into this as well. It’s not an unfounded fear. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation is the most common discrimination finding among federal-sector cases. But sexual harassment doesn’t have to be happening to you specifically in order to make a complaint.  And both filing a charge (even if it’s not about you) and intervening to protect someone from harassment are legally protected activities. If you find yourself being retaliated against, you do have recourse in court. What Is Retaliation? If you find your employer doing any of the following things after you’ve [...]

17 05, 2019

Can You Get Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment?

By |2019-05-17T22:17:54+00:00May 17th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

Standing up against sexual harassment in the workplace is a protected activity. It’s your right to expect that your workplace be free of sexual harassment, and your employer isn’t legally allowed to retaliate against you for reporting it. Despite this, unfortunately, retaliation isn’t unusual. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it’s the most commonly-alleged type of discrimination among federal-sector jobs and cases. Types of Protected Activities Under the law, you are supposed to be able to do the following things without any threat of retaliation from your employer: File a charge of sexual harassmentBe a witness in a sexual harassment investigation or lawsuitTalk to your supervisor, or anyone else, about your concerns regarding sexual harassmentAnswer questions during an internal investigation Turn down sexual advancesIntervene to protect someone else from sexual harassment This is not a complete list. You should be able to take any action to oppose sexual harassment, as long as you are acting under the reasonable belief that the behaviors in question constitute sexual harassment under EEOC law. Of course, employers can terminate or discipline you during an investigation, as long as the reason has nothing to do with your sexual harassment case. But employers are [...]

10 05, 2019

What Counts as Sexual Harassment?

By |2019-05-10T20:40:09+00:00May 10th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

Your boss always notices what you’re wearing, and compliments you on it—but somehow those “compliments” leave you feeling uneasy. A few times you’ve walked into the break room and heard co-workers telling jokes that made you uncomfortable. A colleague keeps trying to give you “friendly massages” while you’re sitting at your desk. If any of this is happening to you, you may have a sexual harassment problem at work. The term “sexual harassment” can cover a lot of behaviors, ranging from questionable comments to out-and-out assault. Between those two extremes lie coercion, bullying, the creation of a hostile workplace, and the offer of specific rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Here are some answers to common questions about sexual harassment. What is the legal definition of sexual harassment? According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment can come in verbal or physical form. It can include unwelcome advances, jokes and comments, unwanted touching, offers of workplace favors in exchange for sexual favors, and adverse consequences for refusing—such as firing or demotion. To qualify as sexual harassment, the behavior must either be severe or pervasive. It can be both, but it doesn’t have to be. A single, serious [...]

3 05, 2019

Quiz: Are You Being Sexually Harassed?

By |2019-05-03T21:47:13+00:00May 3rd, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

Sometimes sexual harassment is glaringly obvious—but at other times, it can be difficult to identify. All you know is that the behavior is making you uncomfortable. If you’re not sure whether you’re being sexually harassed, ask yourself these questions. Is someone making comments about your body? There’s a difference between innocent “compliments” and those that cross lines. For instance, there’s a difference between “I like your outfit” and “your legs look great in that skirt.” If someone at work makes a comment that calls attention to your body or appearance in a way that makes you uncomfortable, it may constitute sexual harassment. Are people making comments about your (or any) gender? Inappropriate comments don’t need to be directed at you personally to be sexual harassment. If you often overhear coworkers making disparaging comments about people of your (or any) sex or gender, this can create a hostile work environment. Are you being touched in a way you don’t like? Unwanted touching is often one of the clearest examples of sexual harassment—but sometimes, even this can be subtle. Some clear and less obvious examples include: Unwanted massages Slapping, pinching, grabbing, or gropingHugging or kissing without permission—or even attempting toIntentionally rubbing against [...]

4 12, 2018

You Reported Sexual Harassment, Then You Got Fired—Now What?

By |2019-01-10T01:28:38+00:00December 4th, 2018|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

How to fight back after retaliation It’s a horrible position to be in: losing your job after reporting sexual harassment. In this situation, it’s easy to feel powerless—but you should know that the law is one your side. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that you have the right to work without being subjected to sexual harassment—and the right to report it if you are the victim. That means it’s against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting sexual harassment, or any other illegal activity. What is retaliation? Retaliation does not just mean firing. It can take many forms, including: Reprimanding you or giving you a lower performance evaluation than you deserve. Transferring you to a less-desirable position or demoting you. Physical or verbal abuse. Threatening to report your immigration status, or file a police report against you. Putting you under increased scrutiny. Retaliating against a family member (for instance, by firing your spouse). Spreading false rumors against you. Deliberately making your job more difficult. What you should do after getting fired  1. Write everything down As much as you can remember, write down the details of the harassment you experienced and the events that led [...]

12 04, 2018

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

By |2018-04-12T14:04:56+00:00April 12th, 2018|Hostile Work Environment, Sexual Harassment, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What is Sexual Harassment? Sexual harassment involves unwelcome offensive sexual advances, communication, or conduct in the workplace. Sexual harassment violates the law. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are two types of situations where sexual harassment in the workplace becomes actionable – when it creates a hostile work environment and when a “quid pro quo” arrangement arises due to the sexual advances of a supervisor or other person in a position of power over the employee. What is hostile work environment sexual harassment? Hostile work environment sexual harassment involves speech or conduct that is severe enough to result in an intimidating or demeaning workplace, in turn affecting an employee’s job in a negative way. Hostile work environment sexual harassment can result from communication or conduct on the part of a supervisor, co-worker, subordinate, or non-employee (such as a customer or client). A victim of sexual harassment can be the employee to whom the conduct or communication is directed or another person who is impacted by the offensive communication or conduct. For example, inappropriate and unwelcome touching, as well [...]

5 01, 2018

Why HR Departments May Fail Victims of Harassment

By |2018-01-05T15:05:48+00:00January 5th, 2018|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

HR managers are charged with protecting the company, not necessarily employees “Close the door,” your boss says as you walk into his office. Once inside, he tells you that one of your clients made a serious complaint about you. Your job could be on the line. Your boss moves closer to you. He touches your arm and says that he can make the whole thing go away if you agree to meet him at a hotel after work. You get out of the office as fast as possible and go straight to human resources. Later that day, you’re fired. Unfortunately, this type of scenario isn’t uncommon. Many employees are under the impression that their company’s HR department is there to protect them. The truth is more complicated. HR Departments also exist to protect the employer. Let’s discuss a recent New York Times article about the conflicting role human resources departments play in harassment cases—and why they often fail employees. HR’s Role in Harassment Complaints The Times article provides several examples of how HR investigations often don’t go far enough. Two common scenarios stand out: Ignored complaints, or Complaints that aren’t taken seriously. In one of the cases detailed in the [...]