Despite years of strict anti-harassment policies in the workplace, many sexual harassment claims are never reported. The cases that are reported are usually subjected to private arbitration then settled with financial compensation and a non-disclosure agreement. Often resulting in the victims leaving their jobs with damaged careers and unable to tell their stories. Such appears to be the case with Fox chief executive Roger Ailes, who allegedly carried on a sexual harassment campaign with various employees for years.
There is a reason that many offenders have gotten away with sexual harassment without suffering any consequences. That reason boils down to power. Despite what policies companies may espouse, the reality is the more powerful the executive the more likely they are to get away with violating their own policies. So much so that within the workplace there is often a culture of rewarding those who shield offenders.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and many New York anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws prohibit sexual harassment and provide victims with the legal means of pursuing and obtaining justice.
There are two common types of sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo. This type of sexual harassment may occur once or manifest in repeated behavior that requires the victim to tolerate harassment to get a job, keep their job, to receive a promotion, or some other benefit. This form of harassment can be from a prospective employer, an employer, a manager or supervisor, or even a co-worker.
Hostile work environment. This type of sexual harassment involves repeated abusive or offensive behavior, or behavior that interferes or alters the victims’ ability to do their job. It’s important to note that employers that allow this type of harassment to continue may also be found liable for the conduct of the offender.
Regardless of what type of sexual harassment you experience, you should make a point of safely and clearly communicating to the harasser that their conduct is unwelcome. You should also immediately inform your manager, your human resources department and/or any person in a position of authority of any sexual harassment you have been subjected to.
In the Fox News case, it will be a while before we learn the outcome. However, the fact that courageous employees came forward and brought light to the situation spells hope for other sexual harassment victims. That a man as powerful as Ailes maybe held accountable is significant. This case may encourage others to come forward about sexual harassment within their own companies.The hope is that this will ease the way for victims to find justice for their injuries they have suffered in silence.
If you have questions about workplace behavior, or believe you are being sexually harassed, please contact our New York City sexual harassment lawyers at Leeds Brown Law. Attorneys experienced with sexual harassment claims can provide counsel on how to handle your situation. Each case has its own set of unique circumstances. The experienced attorneys at Leeds Brown Law can help you determine the merits of your case and how best to proceed.