Though sexual harassment in the workplace has been taken seriously for some time, school officials were long inclined to ignore it. Often, they just made excuses about kids acting like kids, indicating they didn't think it was "real" harassment.
Imagine this situation: Everything is going just fine at your place of employment, but one day something changes. You begin to feel that you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment.
Any school -- public or private -- in the United States has some responsibilities when it comes to dealing with reports of sexual violence or harassment on it's campus. Those responsibilities are listed under a Federal law known as Title IX. Title IX is part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It's worth noting that the law also covers reports of incidents that took place at school-sponsored activities and programs, not only on the physical campus of the school.
It doesn't matter if you are one of our Florida readers or live in another part of the country, you know that sexual harassment in schools should never be tolerated. Not only does this have a negative impact on the student who is being harassed, but it can also affect the school.
There are schools from one side of the country to the next, all of which are dedicated to helping students better their level of education. According to a recent research study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, however, at least one out of four middle school students noted that they have experienced some type of physical or verbal sexual harassment at their school. This often occurs in the hallway or the classroom.
The federal government has had a hand in investigating Florida State University recently, particularly pertaining to the way that the university has worked through claims of sexual assault on campus. The Office for Civil Rights is working on the case, which is part of the Department of Education.
We all know that bullying and sexual harassment are problems that students in Florida and throughout the country face. However, students who are transgender or gender-nonconforming can be targets of particularly brutal emotional and physical abuse.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 55 colleges and universities throughout the country are being investigated to determine if they illegally handled reports of harassment and sexual violence. Although this type of investigation is not a first, it is the first time the department has decided to release a list of the schools being investigated. There are 55 institutions on the list, but Florida State University is the only one in the Sunshine State.
In our Boca Raton employment law blog, we have discussed the right that employees have to remain free from sexual harassment in the workplace. Whether it is a hostile work environment created by inappropriate comments and offensive photos or quid pro quo requests, there is no doubt that sexual harassment is extremely painful for and damaging to the victim.