Sexual harassment has been a problem in American workplaces for decades, although it is getting far more attention in recent months. A nationwide trend of discoveries and allegations indicates that the time of unpunished inappropriate behavior may finally be drawing to a close.
However, many companies and managers attempting to defend or ignore sexual harassment still have an array of weapons to attack the victim and his or her version of events.
Those who seek to challenge cultures and incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination or demeaning treatment must be aware of these defenses and prepare for them. An attorney can often help victims of sexual harassment consider the right path through mediation or civil action.
Investigations into systematic sexual harassment in the state government in Sacramento show that some women who reported inappropriate behavior were immediately dismissed. A lawyer negotiating a settlement with a state department found that the leadership wanted the alleged victim gone.
Sexual harassment may have cost jobs at the Capitol in the 1980s, when a state Assembly employee obtained a settlement after a lawsuit but felt forced to quit only to find her harasser got a better job. "They went after me instead of him," according to the former employee.
Victims and their attorneys contend that the state is notorious for dragging out or impeding sexual harassment investigations and lawsuits for months or even years. This drives up legal costs for accusers and taxpayers alike, and they rely on effective litigators and negotiators to guarantee justice.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, "They reported sex harassment in state jobs and found ‘retaliation is alive and well’," Marjie Lundstrom and Alexei Koseff, Nov. 20, 2017