Gone are the days of smoke chugging, butt-pinching, slathering on the sexual innuendo – misogyny in America’s workplace. Right? Well, maybe. And maybe it is simply gone undercover. Women have always taken Sexual Harassment on the chin in the workplace. For a long time, Sexual Harassment was simply accepted as the cost to women who had the audacity to work outside the home. Then, it seemed to simply amuse men to do it, to hold that kind of power over women. With the sexual revolution in the 1960′ s and 1970′s, things began to change.
They changed slowly, to be sure. But what really changed was that it dawned on us that Sexual Harassment was unacceptable behavior. It wasn’t until one woman was brave enough to sue her employer who had been using tactics to keep her in her place that women around the country took notice and decided that they, too, had enough.
Sexual Harassment Attorneys sprang up overnight and over the past thirty or forty years have built thriving legal practices skilled at taking down individuals or corporations that practice this caveman tactic against women in their employ. So what constitutes “sexual harassment”? Sexual Harassment Attorneys define “harassment” as this: if someone in a supervisory position, (such as an employer, boss, or manager) makes unwanted sexual advances or uses offensive sexual innuendo or explicitly sexual remarks to an employee and insists that employee accept that behavior as a condition to keeping his/her job, or to get positive reviews, evaluations or job promotions, then that constitutes Sexual Harassment. Blue-collar jobs that have been traditional bastions of a male workforce, such as mining or firefighting are prime locales of Sexual Harassment. But white-collar jobs are not immune. Female surgeons are often targets of harassment in the operating room as are women who choose technology as a field. But Sexual Harassment can happen anywhere and still often does.
Kelly Tomlinson worked at a popular sports bar in West Los Angeles. A single mother, supporting two children on her waitress’ salary, Kelly needed her job. Her male manager, who had a habit of tipping a few alongside his customers at night, began laughing and making sexually explicit comments along with his patrons when one of them would occasionally grope her. When she complained to her boss that she her job description didn’t include having to fight off bar patrons, he told her it was her job to make them happy and she should just accept it and laugh. And if she wanted that promotion to food waitress she was coveting, then she’d better do exactly that. Months went by and Kelly was kept from that promotion because of ‘her bad attitude’, but the Sexual Harassment continued. Uncertain how to handle this situation, she consulted a Los Angeles Attorney who won a considerable lawsuit against the sports bar and the manager was fired.
It would seem these kinds of blatant Sexual Harassment tactics would have gone the way of the mastodon, but every day, thousands of women just like Kelly are up against men like her manager and feeling helpless. Laws have been passed in U.S. Courts forbidding this kind of behavior, but the perpetrators count on intimidation and the desperation of these employees to keep their jobs to forestall any legal action. Some, unbelievably, cannot even conceive of this as harassment. Some 35% of all women surveyed in a 2007 study claim they have been subjected to Sexual Harassment of some kind. Surprisingly, 17% of men surveyed also say they have suffered Sexual Harassment in the workplace.
Attorneys not only see this kind of behavior from men, but as power shifts in the market place, Sexual Harassment and creating a hostile workplace is not a domain limited to either sex. Women in positions of power can be guilty of using such tactics as well.
Kyle James (not his real name) worked at an advertising firm in downtown Los Angeles. He had been working for one of the firms top executives for four years as an assistant and hoped to move into an executive position soon. But after gracefully turning down his female boss’s sexual overtures, she began an affair with Kyle’s new and younger, male assistant. Soon, Kyle found himself aced out of the position he’d worked so hard for and his assistant shooting past him for promotion. Kyle hired a Sexual Harassment Attorney and won a case against his boss and against the firm, alleging that his boss used his refusal to become intimate with her against him and used the sexual relationship with his assistant to hurt his chances for promotion in his job.
It’s estimated that only 5%-15% of all cases are ever even reported. This might be partly due to the fact that men remain in the majority in supervisory positions in the workplace and in order for women (the most frequent victims) to report Sexual Harassment, they must go to men to do it. Still, women often get the blame. The fear of losing ones job is a powerful force. So many remain silent in the face of this destructive and debilitating behavior. But if the situation warrants, an experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney can be your advocate where there is none in the workplace. If you feel you are a victim of Sexual Harassment, contact a Sexual Harassment Attorney who specializes in workplace harassment issues who will help you get the compensation you deserve.