The #MeToo movement has thrown a spotlight on workplace sexual harassment, an all-too-common experience for many women on the job in Florida. The news stories about high-profile celebrities, politicians and others involved in harassing their co-workers, assistants and fellow stars have drawn attention to the ongoing struggles faced by women in jobs of all kinds. The national discussion has also led many organizations and companies to look for solutions to the problem, as sexual harassment training programs have been shown to be somewhat ineffective.
Ideally, those who are harassed at work will be able to tell their employer about it. However, there are considerations that Florida workers and others will want to mull over when deciding how to handle their situation. First, it will be important to consider whether the harassment is severe enough that it warrants reporting to a supervisor. If so, it is critical to note that bullying is not necessary against the law.
Some people in Florida may assume that all employees throughout the country are protected against sexual harassment by federal law, but this is not the case. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act only applies to employers who have at least 15 employees.
Florida should tread carefully when made aware of criminal accusations against an employee, especially when it involves co-workers. Taking a side could inflict a hostile work environment on one or more employees. A federal appeals court has sent a case illustrating this situation back to the trial court that originally heard the matter.
Boca Raton workers who have faced discrimination or harassment may want to take heed of a court ruling that clarifies the meaning of the standard used to judge a hostile work environment. The lawsuit was initially dismissed by a lower court. An appeals court reviewed the case and reinstated the plaintiff's original charges. At issue was whether an isolated incident could meet the Supreme Court's "severe and pervasive" standard.
The law protects employees from being treated differently because of their color, race, gender, national origin, age, veteran status, religious affiliation or because of a disability. Therefore, no employer should tolerate anyone at the workplace who severely harasses another employee for these reasons. If you believe you are subjected to a hostile environment at your Florida workplace and your boss has done nothing to stop it, you may be able to hold your employer accountable.
The U.S. Department of Labor made headlines -- and history -- earlier this week when it announced that it will soon be publishing a final rule introducing updates to its interpretation of Executive Order 11246 in a long overdue effort to bring it into line with current laws on workplace discrimination and reflect the reality of the modern workforce.