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Boca Raton Employment Law Blog

Florida school board attorney admits to making lewd comments

The Florida Commissioner of Education has recommended that the School District of Manatee County's general council be removed from his post for making inappropriate comments to his coworkers. The attorney has apologized for his comments and has agreed to take three courses dealing with workplace sensitivity and sexual harassment. The courses are expected to take place within a month.

The investigation into the attorney's conduct was launched on Jan. 10 when the school district received two complaints about lewd and inappropriate comments. The complaints were made by unidentified former and current employees. The investigation was handled by another school board attorney as the lawyer being investigated is tasked with overseeing the Office of Professional Standards. In a Jan. 17 statement, the attorney vowed to treat his coworkers with more respect in the future and thanked the school board members for their ongoing support. He was placed on administrative leave shortly after the complaints were received.

Study finds more sexual harassment for women supervisors

Women in Florida who hold supervisory positions at work may be even more likely to experience sexual harassment than their subordinates. According to a study conducted by researchers at the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University of women in Sweden, the United States and Japan, women were 30% to almost 100% more likely to be sexually harassed at work in positions that gave them more power. The numbers only reversed for women who were at the very top positions for their career.

For Sweden, five data sets from the Swedish Work Environment Survey were used. This survey asked women whether they had faced sexual harassment in the past year based on the definition provided. This was considered a subjective survey. Researchers provided the same definition for participants in the U.S. and Japan, but they used two different survey methods. One gave a list of behaviors and asked if they had experienced them. The other was a subjective survey like the Swedish one.

Wayfair employee terminated after making harassment complaint

Workers in Florida and throughout the country have the right to do their jobs without being subject to sexual or other forms of harassment. However, one woman said that she was terminated from her position at Wayfair after making a sexual harassment complaint. The employee said that her supervisor groped her and had asked her out on a date. After she denied his request, the supervisor allegedly said bad things about her to others at the company.

After making several complaints to Wayfair management about this person, an investigation was conducted. However, the company deemed her complaint to be without merit as the perpetrator denied the allegations against him. Furthermore, the HR department suggested that the woman talk with her supervisor about how to improve their relationship. The employee was initially reassigned to another department before being terminated. Her termination occurred just days after informing the supervisor that she planned to file a discrimination charge.

McDonald's sued for racial discrimination

Florida residents might be interested to learn that two black female executives with McDonald's Corporation have filed a lawsuit against the company for racial discrimination. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Chicago on Jan. 7.

The women allege that they endured a toxic workplace culture in which they suffered pervasive discrimination based on race. They allege that they were subjected to an environment filled with derogatory comments, threats, and obstacles to prevent black people from advancing. Both women were demoted from vice president jobs to senior director positions in July 2018 during what the women termed was a purge of black people.

Routes for addressing sexual harassment at work

"Harassment" sounds like a harsh word, which is fitting because it describes harsh treatment and actions. Harassment can involve rude comments, threats, unwanted physical contact and more. You may never have anticipated someone harassing you or for the actions to continue, but you began facing consistent sexual harassment in the workplace.

At first, your harasser's actions may have made you feel uncomfortable, or even as if you had done something to warrant his or her unseemly actions. However, you came to realize that you were the victim of workplace harassment and that it was the other person's behavior that needed to be addressed. Now, you wonder what to do.

Times Up publishes resource guide for actors

Many people in Florida have heard about the Times Up movement in Hollywood. Times Up Entertainment is a group that works to draw attention to sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. On Jan. 3, Times Up released a resource guide on sexual harassment that is especially geared toward helping actors who are auditioning for movies and filming scenes.

Times Up says that two of the most vulnerable work environments in the film industry are auditions and simulated sex scenes. The possibility of sexual misconduct taking place in either of these settings is high. According to the guide, actors filming sex scenes have been filmed on crew smartphones without their approval, and they have been given directions to perform actual sex acts. During auditions, actors can be vulnerable to sexual predators who use their positions of power to violate their rights.

United Airlines paying for Internet harassment

Many people who take flights to and from Florida use United Airlines. The airline, which flies to more than 300 airports around the world, was recently ordered to pay one of its flight attendants $321,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim involving a pilot. United Airlines will also have to compensate the female employee for her legal costs.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of a flight attendant who claims that she was a victim of Internet harassment over several years. According to the woman, a pilot who worked for United Airlines posted an explicit image of her on several websites without her permission. The pilot captioned the photo 'Fly the Friendly Skies" and included the flight attendant's name and home airport.

Miami employee accuses city of racial discrimination

A Florida parks and recreation worker is suing the City of Miami for racial discrimination after multiple complaints have come to light by black workers. The 59-year-old man, who has worked in various public works, sanitation and parks department jobs for the city for 37 years, says that his supervisor used the N-word against him in 2013, calling him the racial slur in an argument. He says that he was subjected to various discriminatory incidents since 2011, which was when a new supervisor was introduced at the job.

The man says that he filed an internal complaint that led to his claims being labeled unfounded. He also brought the incident to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on two occasions, which dismissed his claim. The supervisor involved says that he did not use the racial slur and that the workplace discrimination issues arise out of other disputes, such as when he and the 59-year-old man ran against each other in a union election. However, other black workers in Miami have also reported discrimination on the job. Several workers say that they were denied promotions, placed specifically in a less desirable park and sent to pick up trash rather than performing their skilled positions.

Workplace sexual violence is a problem for millions

Research suggests that many women in Florida have experienced sexual violence while at work. A new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that workplace sexual violence is prevalent, and nearly 10 million U.S. workers have been victims of it. Among the victims, 70 percent were found to be female workers.

Sexual violence is a term used to describe unwanted sexual contact that could include penetration, groping, exposure or sexual remarks. The study found that sexual violence on the job is perpetrated by both authority figures and by non-authority figures. For women, rape by a coworker is most likely to be committed by a non-authority figure, according to the study.

Were you fired after complaining about sexual harassment?

You, like other lucky Florida residents, loved your job. It may have been something that you started without entirely knowing whether it was the right fit for you, but after getting used to how the company operated and your duties, you found your stride and considered yourself a valuable part of the team. As a result, when your employer unexpectedly fired you from your job, the blow may have felt immensely devastating.

In some ways, you may have thought that the termination was coming. After witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace and filing a complaint, your employer and co-workers may have started treating you differently. Rather than feeling like a valuable part of the team, you began to feel like an outcast.

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