At the end of 2017, an international movement fighting against assault and sexual harassment began to take hold on social media. The hashtag #MeToo was utilized to illustrate the pervasive presence of harassment and sexual assault – specifically in the workplace. The catalyst for the movement came shortly after allegations were made against Harvey Weinstein, a well-known film producer. While the problem of sexual harassment and assault was only recently thrust into the public light, lawmakers have been taking steps to combat the reprehensible behavior for decades.
In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) began to study the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. Despite significant pressure from women’s advocates and widespread training for employers and employees, workplace sexual harassment is still a pressing issue. According to the EEOC, the Commission receives over 11,000 complaints each year. However, given the realistic threat of retaliation that people face when confronting or accusing perpetrators of abuse and harassment, the number of cases is underestimated.
According to the EEOC, it is illegal to harass any employee or applicant because of their sex. Common forms of Texas sexual harassment include behaviors such as unwanted sexual advances, invitations and requests for sexual favors, and other similar verbal or physical behaviors that are based on a person’s sex. Unfortunately, issues arise when the behavior is considered “teasing” or an off-hand comment, or if it occurs on an isolated occasion.
Historically, both men and women have been afraid to speak up in fear that they would be considered dramatic or over-reactive. Often, the result of an accusation would lead to the accuser being ostracized or otherwise subjected to retaliation in the workplace. This has led people to avoid speaking up in fear of being ridiculed, harassed further, or even fired.
The #MeToo movement has given organizations and individuals the resources to advocate for victims by representing them in lawsuits or fighting to change policies. The movement has spurred laws that would call for fingerprinting professionals who work with children, processing untested rape kits, and updating workplace sexual harassment policies. Most interestingly, there is a #MeToo bill before Congress that would allow victims to file a complaint against a Congressperson without having to abide by the current “cooling off” period.
Sexual assault lawsuits have resulted in many accusers being wrongfully terminated from their positions and even blacklisted from future job opportunities. It is important that victims have dedicated and experienced lawyers to help them through this process. An attorney can assist in the removal of the barriers that many victims face and help guide victims of abuse and harassment through the litigation process.
Have You Been a Victim of Sexual Harassment or Assault?
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment or assault in your workplace, you should contact the dedicated Texas sexual harassment attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. The attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. have decades of collective experience handling complex sexual harassment cases. We can guide you through all of the steps and ensure that throughout the process, you are given the respect that you deserve. Contact Rob Wiley, P.C. at 214-528-6500 to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
What does Hively mean for gay and lesbian employees in Texas?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, April 23, 2018.
How a Texas Employee Can Prove a Case of Employment Discrimination, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, May 2, 2018.