Employers in Florida and throughout the country are being told that an increase in sexual harassment complaints could be forthcoming in 2018. This is largely a result of the #MeToo movement that has increased awareness about the subject. Many employees who previously did not feel like they had the ability to speak out could not feel empowered to do so. Companies both large and small may benefit by reviewing their insurance policies and taking other steps to reduce their liability.
For example, a company can review its sexual harassment policy and its overall work culture. While not every case will make the headlines like those involving Harvey Weinstein, any company could be vulnerable to a lawsuit or other legal consequences. This is true whether a business is a small restaurant or a large law firm.
There are many steps that a company can take to be proactive about changing its culture. For instance, it can offer training for workers or review the employee handbook to see if updates need to be made. Companies should also have a system in place for accepting and reviewing complaints that are made. Whoever is reviewing the complaints should be independent and allow them to be made in an anonymous manner.
Those who believe that they are victims of sexual harassment may want to obtain legal counsel to help pursue their case. An attorney could review a case to determine if ineffective employer policies created a hostile workplace. If so, a worker could be entitled to punitive damages and other forms of compensation. Back pay may be available to those who were terminated after making a compliant of sexual harassment on the job.