California residents are likely familiar with the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements that have given voice to many victims of sexual bullying, assault and harassment. Much of this harassment took place at the workplace, and much of it was perpetrated by men in positions of power.
Sexual assault in the workplace and harassment happen with greater frequency than some may realize. A study published in 2018 found that 81 percent of women and more than 40 percent of men say that they have experienced some type of sexual harassment or some form of sexual assault during their life.
It seems that very few work environments are free from sexual harassment. An example of this is seen in the case of two civilian women who accused a Marine major of making unwanted sexual comments on multiple occasions back in 2013. Ironically, these civilian women work in a division that specializes in training the Marines for sexual assault prevention.
There is little doubt that breaking the silence on sexual harassment in the workplace has led to a number of positive changes. The simple fact that the silence breakers were referred to as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” in October 2018 is evidence that awareness is being raised. More people feel free to discuss what sexual harassment is, what sexual assault is and the effects that harassment has on victims.
Sadly, some leaders in business and other organizations feel that they do not have a problem within their organization because no one is complaining. If the silence breakers have taught anything, it’s that just because no one is complaining does not mean there is no sexual harassment going on in an organization.
Employment law attorneys may handle cases involving discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment. They may work with clients to defend them if their employer has taken advantage of them or permitted an environment where harassment exists.