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Documentary explores groundbreaking harassment case

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency that is tasked with enforcing the federal laws that protect employees from discrimination based on a protected class. The agency’s name has become synonymous with protecting the rights of employees, and it might be easy to forget that the EEOC is an employer as well.

A documentary film was recently released that looks back on one of the biggest sexual harassment cases in history. It was over two decades ago when Anita Hill spoke in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee and detailed the hostile work environment she said that she endured under the supervision of her boss at the EEOC.

The readers of our Boca Raton employment law blog are probably more familiar with the woman’s old boss, then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. The woman spoke in front of the committee, testifying to the details of the constant harassment that she endured.

It wasn’t easy testimony to give in 1991. She was severely questioned by the all-male committee. “They were humiliating her by making her go over these things again and again,” said Jane Mayer, a reporter that appeared in the film.

The film not only takes a look at the Senate Judiciary hearings, but it looks at Hill’s life after and honors the historical significance of this event. Although Thomas was confirmed shortly after her testimony, the hearings helped bring awareness to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.

It also helped provide unique insight from the victim’s perspective, including the ways that a victim may deal with this type of harassment.

This event and many more have helped shape the avenues of relief that are now available to the victims of sexual harassment in a Florida workplace, whether they are male or female.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Clarence Thomas vs Anita Hill: She’s still telling the truth,” Robin Abcarian, March 12, 2014

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