Articles Posted in sexual harassment

Gender discrimination in the technology sector has long been a problem which female Californians have simply had to endure. The anti-diversity manifesto by a former Google engineer is just the latest in a long line of more subtle disparities in the treatment of women employed in the technology industry. Now, a proposed bill by California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson aims to address sexual harassment in venture capital.sexual harassment attorneys

Forbes reports the bill would make an almost imperceptible change to California’s current sexual harassment statute. By adding a single word – “investor” – venture capital relationships would be added to the employment relationships which are protected from sexual harassment by the California Labor Code. Yet this single word could make a world of difference to the women who find it difficult to both access venture capital and maintain employment within the technology sector. For decades, the imbalance of power lead to “rampant harassment of women entrepreneurs”. It is only recently that media attention has shed light on the problem and inspired action on the issue. Continue reading

Sexual harassment is a problem faced by many employers. But what is less often understood is the role that company culture can play in fostering sexual harassment in the workplace – and protecting its perpetrators. Without understanding the systemic causes of sexual harassment, employers cannot adequately eradicate it within their businesses, nor protect themselves from the liability attendant to sexual harassment claims. Occupations which have been traditionally filled by a male-dominate workforce are particularly susceptible to legal claims of sexual discrimination and harassment.sexual harassment lawyers

The Technology Sector Becomes an Example of What Not to Do

Other male-dominated industries can learn from the legal and publicity problems faced by the technology sector. For years, Silicon Valley has been a microcosm of sexual harassment culture. Wired magazine describes the prevalence of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley as being an “open secret.” This open secret is a culture that has lasted for decades, and has not been changed by human resource policies, nor by extensive litigation and judgments against behemoth employers. The culture of male dominance is simply too pervasive to respond to a few settlements that pale in comparison to the massive profits of large tech companies. Continue reading

A former engineer for the ride-sharing technology service Uber wrote a scathing blog detailing numerous allegations of sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination at the California-based firm. woman working

Now, the company is launching an “urgent investigation” into her claims, which included allegations that her complaints to management were repeatedly dismissed. She further asserted that a repeat offending sexual harasser was protected by higher-ups with the organization and she was threatened with termination for having the gall to raise concerns in the first place. The allegations come amid longstanding complaints that women are vastly underrepresented in Silicon Valley tech jobs.

The CEO of the company now says the company will conduct an internal investigation in response to the blog post, written by an employee who was a former software programmer. She was repeatedly propositioned by her manager, she alleges, and the reports she made to the company’s human resources division were ignored.  Continue reading

A new report by Broadly indicates many females who work as professional massage therapists report experiencing constant sexual harassment – mostly from clients or prospective clients. massage

This sexual harassment can include anything form inappropriate requests to heckling to unwanted touching, usually from male clients.

Erotic massages, which are a sexual service, are illegal in the U.S., except for in licensed brothels in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. Nonetheless, several high-profile incidents of arrests for illicit massages (a form of prostitution) has led to erroneous presumptions about what these professionals do. Legitimate therapists, who studied for their position and are certified and consider themselves health professionals, are often inundated with insults, sexual rhetoric and sleazy comments. Continue reading

A blog post written by a woman detailing sexual assault by her powerful boss in an upscale bar prompted fifteen women to come forward with their own stories – about the same man. restaurant

The blog, The Reality of Sexual Assault in the Cocktail Community, details in graphic, difficult-to-read accounts, their experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the restaurant and bar industry. The homepage contains content wherein the original author explains she wants to start a dialogue about what happened, why none of them have gone public with these allegations and what can be done by women in similar situations today.

A large study conducted in 2014, The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry, revealed there are more than 11 million workers in the restaurant industry, which is one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the economy nationally. It is also the biggest source of sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Women are especially vulnerable in these roles, which are some of the most precarious from a financial standpoint. Approximately 70 percent of all servers are women and more than 60 percent of all tipped jobs are filled by females.  Continue reading

A sexual harassment lawsuit has been filed against a national charity employment organization and one of its affiliates, alleging the two companies failed to protect the female janitorial staff from being routinely targeted for sexual harassment by a night shift supervisor. mopping

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five workers who worked nights, most of whom were employed by the charity organization’s contractor, which hired the workers through a federal contract to employ those with disabilities. The workers in this program suffered from severe physical, mental or psychological impairments, and were working through this federally-funded program to help them become financially independent. They were assigned to clean a federal building in Oakland, CA each evening.

The supervisor is accused of inappropriate touching and leering. He is alleged to have asked intrusive questions about the women’s sex lives and made propositions to them. He once groped his genitals in front of the female janitors – and others – so often that federal building employees reportedly gave him a crude nickname. This fact alone shows that the behavior was known – or should have been known – by higher-ups. Despite this and repeated reports, the company didn’t take any effective action to help protect these vulnerable workers, according to the complaint.  Continue reading

Sexual harassment claims against the former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes ultimately cost the executive his job and resulted in a $20 million settlement with former anchor Gretchen Carlson. The allegations embroiled the company in controversy, as Greta Van Susteren, one of the longest-serving hosts, quit abruptly. Later, star Megyn Kelly, who would also come forward with claims of sexual harassment against Ailes, announced she was leaving for NBC. Kelly said she didn’t come forward sooner with her claims of harassment because to do so would have been, “Career suicide.” sad

Now, it seems that these type of incidents were part of a larger pattern, perhaps even a corporate culture, as more allegations against other executives and hosts have been revealed. Most recently, The New York Times reported, was the revelation that 21st Century Fox, which is the parent company of Fox News, quietly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by an employee against prime-time star Bill O’Reilly.

The claim was made by a female Fox broadcaster who first began working for the company in the 1990s. She worked for a time on the Fox & Friends weekend edition show, and she had a regular segment on The O’Reilly Factor. She alleges O’Reilly tried to initiate a sexual relationship with her back in 2011. However, she declined his advance, resulting in his retaliation, according to the lawsuit. Additionally, a long-time Fox News executive, now co-president of the company after Ailes’ ouster, is also accused of retaliation in the case.  Continue reading

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that of the thousands of complaints of sexual harassment it receives every year, 17 percent are filed by men. Meanwhile, more than half of women in the workplace report enduring some form of sexual harassment. Although there is no denying that sexual harassment is unacceptable no matter the victim or offender’s gender, instances involving men are beginning to garner more media attention. Although men are less likely to endure sexual harassment, they sometimes have an even steeper uphill battle in getting their employer to take it seriously because certain stereotypes would suggest males welcome this kind of attention. The fact is, they do not and the law makes no distinction. police

Recently, a county sheriff’s officer in Michigan filed a federal employment lawsuit alleging his female boss sexually harassed him and that his male supervisors laughed it off. In one case, an undersheriff told him to, “Take one for the team.” Instead, he took it to court.

Rather than suing his alleged harasser, though, he is taking on his employer for reportedly failing to act on his plea for help. According to court records, his boss reportedly taunted him for more than a year with comments that were sexually-charged an inappropriate. She advanced on him with unwanted behavior of a sexual nature. In one instance, he alleges she offered to give him oral sex. In another instance, she suggested to him getting his wife intoxicated and engaging them both in a sexual act. She also allegedly gave his work partners phony assignments so she would have opportunities to be alone with him. She also reportedly texted his personal cell phone and made it a point to drive by his home.  Continue reading

There is a saying that is particularly pervasive in retail that, “The customer is always right.” But this is not true when the customer behaves in a manner that is threatening or hostile to store employees. This includes instances of sexual harassment. woman

Sexual harassment is a serious and pervasive problem in American workplaces. It also is not limited to interactions with co-worker or supervisors. Sexual harassment can occur in the context of other professional relationships, including those between customers and suppliers.

Further, sexual harassment in those situations does not need to consist of any outright demand for sex or sexual favors in exchange for business. It can take on a wide range of inappropriate behaviors or unwanted advances, including dirty jokes, repeated sexual innuendo or the use of offensive language. Although business owners may not be protected under sexual harassment laws, they do have the option to end the contract. Employees, however, are considered more vulnerable and they may be covered under sexual harassment laws.  Continue reading

In mid-2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s sexual harassment task force released a report revealing some troubling findings:

  • One-third of complaints to EEOC during fiscal year 2015 included an allegation of workplace harassment, including on the basis of sex.
  • The EEOC recovered nearly $165 million that year from companies where workplace harassment persisted.
  • Much of the current training methods are ineffective at prevention, as they focus mostly on sidestepping legal liability for workplace harassment. woman

Sexual harassment in particular is a serious concern – and a pervasive one.  Continue reading