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sexual harassment at work Archives

Employment contracts and workplace harassment

In Florida and across the United States, workplace harassment and sex discrimination scandals have become mainstay headlines. The #MeToo movement that started with revelations of unwanted sexual advances within elite Hollywood circles has expanded to government entities and corporations. Many legal analysts believe that the current situation would be even more scandalous if a certain provision of employment contracts did not exist.

Employees speaking out about sexual harassment

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.

Some workers are misclassified as contractors

In the 'gig economy," many Florida workers are hired as freelancers or contractors. The designation is critical when interpreting a variety of federal employment statutes. In particular, federal workplace laws banning age, gender, racial and religious discrimination are unavailable to workers not classified as 'employees."

Allegations of sexual harassment against Panthers owner

Florida fans of the Carolina Panthers may be aware that the team's owner, 81-year-old Jerry Richardson, faces multiple accusations of sexual harassment, according to an article that appeared in Sports Illustrated. Richardson has reached past settlements on these charges as well as for a racial slur he used with an African-American employee.

Microsoft defends record on sexual harassment

Sexual harassment continues to be a major concern for many Florida workers, whether their jobs are in customer service, office management or tech development. Some have claimed that tech giant Microsoft, the maker of the Windows operating system, has treated female workers improperly and failed to provide a proper response to workplace harassment reports. One senior executive responded to these claims by saying the corporation consistently investigates all harassment reports and that about 20 staff members were fired in 2017 over related complaints.

Sexual harassment rates decline in an uneven manner

Since 1997, the number of reported incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace has fallen more than 40 percent. In 1997, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received more than 16,000 sexual harassment complaints compared to 9,600 in 2017. This is attributed to better training as well as the increase in female managers. However, this trend does not necessarily apply to everyone in Florida and throughout the United States.

HR pros recognize need to increase sexual harassment training

Newly hired employees in Florida likely receive information about sexual harassment during their initial training and then hear about it very little after that. A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management identified a lack of awareness among employees as a reason for not reporting sexual harassment. The survey questioned both human resource professionals and non-management employees. Although 94 percent of HR professionals knew about their employers' sexual harassment policies, 22 percent of rank-and-file employees did not know about the policies.

Florida works may not report workplace harassment

In 2017, the #MeToo movement shed light on the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment and the underlying pattern of victims' reluctance to report the behavior. Harassment may include inappropriate attention, unwanted sexual advances and lewd comments. According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 12 percent of workers reported having experienced sexual harassment on the job. Of the respondents who indicated they had experienced workplace harassment, 72 percent did not report the situation to their employer. Of the workers who remained silent, 40 percent cited fear of being labeled a troublemaker as their reason. Many victims of workplace harassment fear wrongful termination and often believe filing a complaint will create a hostile work environment.

How pervasive is sexual harassment in the workplace?

The past few years have shed light on several injustices toward women that had gone unnoticed or unacknowledged in the past: Movements like #MeToo and the Hollywood allegation scandals have demonstrated how much abuse happens behind the scenes. With all of this activity done to further women's rights, citizens of Florida may notice how much their awareness has increased with regards to the pervasiveness of sexual abuse in the workplace as well as what constitutes sexual abuse.

Explaining modern attitudes toward sexual harassment

When it comes to sexual harassment, age may play a significant role in how it is dealt with by Florida workers and others. Those who are older may be more likely to simply try to move past inappropriate encounters while younger workers may be more likely to report such behavior. One researcher believes that generational attitudes toward power at work may be better able to explain the difference in how sexual harassment is perceived.

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