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Lawmaker wants sexual harassment at universities exposed

New York residents may be interested to learn about some proposed federal law changes that could help to prevent sexual harassment by university scientists. In mid-January, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives about an investigation into sexual harassment at the University of Arizona. In her speech, Speier said that university scientists who had been found guilty of sexual harassment were being moved around to different schools.

When Speier addressed the House, she revealed details of the sexual harassment investigation into an astronomer at the University of Arizona. An investigation conducted in 2005 found that the astronomer had been guilty of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Despite the findings of the investigation, the astronomer was able to transfer to the University of Wyoming, where he now has a science education chair.

Speier proposed some changes to federal law that would require full disclosure of a university staff member's gender discrimination violations. If a staff member transfers to a new university, Speier wants the new university to be alerted about the staff member's prior sexual harassment behavior. By disclosing past sexual harassment incidents, Speier says that schools will be able to make more informed decisions about whether or not to hire a staff member.

When people are being sexually harassed at work or forced to endure a hostile work environment, their work performance may suffer as a result. In some cases, sexual harassment can result in a person losing a job or receiving a demotion. Those who are in this type of a position may want the assistance of an attorney in filing a claim with the applicable federal or state agency.

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