Marie Napoli on the MeToo Movement Against Sexual Harassment
June 1, 2018 | Civil Rights
Marie Napoli, Partner
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as follows: “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature…when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.” Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. It is also important to know that there is not legal regulation against teasing and off hand remarks but when it is constant or severe then it can become a case of sexual harassment. This is a fine line that has often come up with talks to and about Me Too women like Marie Napoli and others.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
“Sexual harassment can be unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical touching of a sexual nature. If you are subjected to any such behaviors and they unreasonably interfere with your work performance or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, then that may be sexual harassment. If you are subjected to an adverse employment action because you rejected any of those behaviors, that may be sexual harassment” (MeTooAttorney). According to the same website, there are some key things that have to be in place when talking about sexual discrimination and harassment claims and lawsuits:
- Sexual harassment can occur whether the harasser is female or male.
- There can be same-sex sexual harassment and it is becoming increasingly common.
- The harasser can be anyone you know or in contact with- usually on a regular basis.
- You do not have to be the person harassed but someone affected by the offensive conduct.
- Unlawful sexual harassment can happen without financial or job-related issues with victim.
- The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.
Help For Sexual Harassment Victims
Men can sexually harass women, and women can sexually harass men. However, statistics show that the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment claims and charges are brought by women claiming that they were sexually harassed by men. To help reduces instances of sexual harassment in the workplace employers are encouraged to:
- Adopt a clear sexual harassment policy that is enforced.
- Train employees to recognize and deal with sexual harassment.
- Train supervisors and managers in how to treat employees.
- Monitor your workplace closely for signs of problems.
- Take all complaints seriously and give them due attention.
To learn more about sexual harassment, how to recognize it, how to prevent it, and what your rights are as a victim, give us a call and let us help you! We support the #MeToo movement and are here to fight for you! Call us today and get started.
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