A new year begins and the thoughts of many Californians drift to what has happened in the last one. Employees’ rights attorneys and social researchers point to one of the key trends of 2017: increased attention to sexual harassment and other types of insidious discrimination in the workplace.
Venture capital firms, high-tech development companies and the state university system have all seen lawsuits, settlements and dismissals related to charges of sexual harassment, as well as the government. The California State Legislature paid out $2 million to resolve related cases in the last year alone.
To open the new year, the state assembly in Sacramento reversed their previous policy and prepared to disclose personal details of those accused of sexual harassment. This move, after several legal challenges to the government’s secrecy, is designed to rebuild public and employee trust in their ability to curtail a widespread culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.
A statement about the policy assured that it would only disclose information about “claims that have been substantiated against a high-level legislative employee or legislator for which discipline has been imposed or allegations have been determined to be well-founded.”
This move comes after two legislators resigned and another is on leave after being charged with specific instance of sexual harassment by female employees, lobbyists and reporters.
California law is clear on the unacceptability of inappropriate behavior in the workplace related to gender or race differences in the highly diverse state. Those who believe they have been the victim of discrimination in public or private workplaces may consider legal representation to ensure the safety of their career and appropriate damages from the parties at fault.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, “In about-face after legal threats, California’s Legislature will grant new access to sexual misconduct allegation records,” John Myers and Melanie Mason, Jan. 05, 2018