In the fall of 1991 a stunned and confused nation watched a law professor charge a Supreme Court nominee with blatant sexual harassment on prime-time television.
Stunned, because never before had there been this kind of media attention to sexual harassment. Confused because the lines can seem unclear and sexual harassment is inextricably aligned to perception.
Shortly thereafter the nightly news and national magazines carried stories of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination in the military.
Those events brought to light something that millions of Americans already knew: sexual harassment and retaliation is a pervasive, destructive, social, legal and ethical problem. And it is a problem which workers have not escaped.
Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, and retaliation for reporting it, is one of the most persistent and destructive problems in the U.S. workplace. While potentially a problem for both sexes, the majority of sexual harassment is from men to women, and few working women have not experienced sexual harassment.
Although sexual harassment is clearly illegal, it continues, despite the high cost to the employee and the harassed individual. And, despite the protections of the law, many who have been harassed do not bring complaints. Sex role stereotyping, distribution of power and socialization are among the chief factors contributing to sexual harassment.
Filing charges can be humiliating. Victims may feel that their charges will be ignored or down played, or they may be accused of behavior that invited the offensive conduct.
They may be ridiculed, face hostility or retaliation: poor work assignments, reduced hours, poor evaluations, or even the loss of a job. Still others don’t know their rights, are confused about where the lines are drawn, or simply don’t know what to do.
What is clear…. is that sexual harassment and retaliation is against the law.
Since 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has prohibited discrimination in employment conditions because of an individual’s sex. In 1976, it was acknowledged that Title VII also prohibits sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination.
Unlawful hostile environment harassment may occur even where there has been no tangible job detriment, but where sexually harassing conduct is so severe or pervasive that it alters an employee’s working conditions.
In this INSIDER EXCLUSIVE, “Justice in America” Network TV Special our news team “Goes Behind The Headlines” in “SEX ABUSE NIGHTMARE – Michelle Chun Fook’s Story” to meet with Paul Woods, of the Paul Woods Law Firm PLLC who successfully represented Yolanda Cooper and Michelle Chun Fook, two former Seattle public library security guards, who said a manager kissed them both and didn’t investigate a coworker who held one of them on his lap and spanked her. Paul Woods successfully settled the case for $220,000.
Unfortunately, as a settlement condition, Michelle and Yolanda both had to leave their jobs at the Seattle Central Library downtown and never work for the City of Seattle again. The manager, still works for the city in a different department and wasn’t disciplined… although the coworker was fired. Yolanda Cooper and Michelle Chun Fook said the city failed to support them, adding to the pain of the harassment.
You can contact The Paul Woods Law Firm, PLLC @ (425) 773-8109 and http://paulwoodslawfirm.com/