One of the reasons that sexual harassers thrive in the workplace is that there's never been any particular effort to track them. Indeed, since many employers are reluctant to admit that sexual harassment occurred behind their doors, many harassers can quietly move on to other positions in other companies -- where new potential victims await.
As of Jan. 1, 2020, California was set to ban forced arbitration in employment contracts -- a move that was designed to keep sexual harassment victims from being forced to settle and stay silent after being abused. Critics have long said that forced arbitration clauses can end up punishing the victims for fighting back. They also tend to protect the sexual harasser since a company can often settle a claim quickly and quietly -- without any risk to its reputation.
When you think of "pregnancy discrimination," you may think of those days, long ago, when companies actually forbid female employees from getting pregnant. Anyone who announced they were expecting (or started to show) was summarily dismissed from their position.
If it surprises you that the #MeToo movement is already a decade old, you probably aren't alone. The movement -- which is designed both to allow victims to show solidarity and to provoke beneficial changes in the workplace -- only developed some of its biggest momenta a couple of years ago.
Have you ever heard anyone express skepticism about the damage done by workplace sexual harassment? For decades, the idea of a lecherous boss chasing a harried secretary around a desk was played for laughs -- as if a little sexual harassment was just part of being an attractive human being in the workforce.
You've been putting up with sexual harassment for weeks or months now from a co-worker or supervisor. You've tried politely ignoring the harasser as well as directly asking them to stop. You've made your boundaries clear, but the message doesn't seem to be getting through.
"Well, what was she wearing to work?" "How did she talk to him?" "Did she lead him on?" "Did she smile a lot?"
There's good news and bad news for working women. On the one hand, sexual harassment complaints are generally on the decline. On the other hand, African-American women are increasingly likely to be victims.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is no longer something that people simply have to quietly endure -- it's now a subject of intense scrutiny.
Let's be perfectly clear: You can't go around recording private conversations without permission, so don't start trying to catch sexual harassment on film unless you're completely sure it's legal to record.