Although America may elect its first woman president in 2016, sexual harassment is still a major issue in many companies. In early July, Gretchen Carlson, who used to co-host a popular Fox News show, filed a harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the CEO of the network. In addition to her being subjected to unwanted advances, she also claimed in her lawsuit that another former colleague displayed sexist behavior toward her. Some believe that the issue is so prevalent because it may be hard to define.
For some, what is intended to be an innocent comment or joke to a colleague may be taken as harassment by the recipient. However, people who feel harassed at work may not report the behavior for a variety of reasons. Typically, they might fear that they could lose their job or their reputation if they did so.
While most employers do have policies to handle claims of harassment, they may not be enough to actually deal with the problem. They may also be cumbersome and require employees to take specific steps before their claim will be heard or dealt with. However, those who follow the issue say that workers who want to report harassment should follow proper protocol unless it would be fruitless.
Employees who believe that they have been subjected to unwelcome sexual advances that has led to a hostile working environment may want to contact an attorney who has experience with these types of employment law matters. If the behavior has been reported in the appropriate manner but to no avail, the attorney may recommend filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the applicable state agency.