It began amid the allegations made by high-profile actresses against Harvey Weinstein. They reported that Weinstein had used his position as a producer and the co-founder of Miramax to lure aspiring actresses into his hotel room with promises that if they performed sexual favors for him, it would help their careers. In addition, at least 13 individual women accused Weinstein of rape or sexual assault. What followed was the #MeToo movement.
For decades Weinstein was insulated from repercussions for his behavior by his own company. It was not until 2017 that news broke of Weinstein’s misconduct. The #MeToo movement, which news of the allegations inspired, resulted in several high-profile men being taken to task for their sexual predation.
Not only were men in all industries made aware of the scope of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, but initiatives by the federal and state governments to force victims into private arbitration were stopped dead in their tracks.
In addition, it inspired more workplaces to consider the toll that sexual harassment and misconduct have had on those who have suffered through it.
Low-Wage Workers More Likely to be Victims of Sexual Harassment
While the Weinstein news was a high-profile case involving visible victims, low-wage workers working mundane jobs are still more likely to be the victims of sexual misconduct in the workplace. On top of that, they are far less likely to pursue action against their employers. In cases in which they do pursue action, it is less likely that they will be believed. In many cases, bringing sexual harassment to the attention of managers can result in retaliation.
Just recently, two Reno City workers made allegations of retaliation for having filed a sexual harassment complaint against City Manager Andrew Clinger.
More recently Steve Wynn was accused of sexually harassing two massage therapists working at casinos owned by Wynn. Despite their complaints being filed separately, the made similar accusations against the casino mogul.
How Sexual Harassment and Misconduct are Litigated
For those who have been the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, not every crude or inappropriate comment is actionable. While certain behaviors are actionable even if they occurred only once, such as unwanted touching, an employee must generally be able to prove that there was ongoing inappropriate behavior.
This could also entail reporting the inappropriate behavior to HR or others in a position to correct the behavior. While a coworker may make an offhand comment like “you look hot today,” and this comment may draw unwanted attention to your physical appearance, make you feel awkward, or cause you to feel uncomfortable, harassment in the workplace must rise to the standard of creating a hostile work environment.
The company needs to have the opportunity to correct the situation, and the employee needs to have the opportunity to amend his or her offending behavior. That is why it is imperative for employees who have been victimized by this kind of conduct to report the incidents once they get out of hand. If the employer retaliates against a victim of sexual harassment, they have broken the law.
Have You Been the Victim of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
If so, it is important to involve an attorney in the process as early as possible. HKM Employment Law of Nevada has litigated countless sexual harassment cases against indifferent employers. Give us a call at 702.625.3893 and we will make sure that you have all the evidence you need to hold your employer accountable for their inaction.