Florida residents have probably heard of the well-known computer and technology company Microsoft, but they may not have heard about all the workplace troubles taking place inside the company. Part of the reason for that could be the company's response to alleged experiences of discrimination and sexual harassment.
Florida employees could be the victims of a hostile workplace environment simply because a rumor was started about them. This is what the U.S. Court of Appeals held in Parker v. Reema Consulting Services, Inc. In that case, a woman was denied future promotions by her manager because she was supposedly a problem in the company. The supposed problem began after another employee started a rumor that the woman slept with a manager in exchange for a promotion.
Some males working for Florida companies may see sexual harassment in the workplace as less of a problem in 2019 than they did when the #metoo movement began in 2017, but overall, awareness of workplace harassment has risen in the past two decades. A Gallup poll found that in February 2019, 62 percent of adults said they thought sexual harassment against women in the workplace was a serious problem. This was down from 69 percent in October 2017 but up from 50 percent in 1998.
A payout received by one Google executive has sparked outrage in Florida and across the country about the continuing problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. A former executive at the technology giant received $35 million in his severance package even though he was allegedly forced to resign after an investigation into sexual assault accusations. The total of his exit package was revealed as part of an ongoing shareholder lawsuit targeting the company's practice of paying large severance amounts to high-ranking executives accused of sexual harassment or assault.
Sexual harassment of restaurant and other food service employees is a common scenario. Reports indicate that up to 70 percent of male workers and 90 percent of female workers in restaurants have experienced some type of sexual harassment from customers, coworkers, supervisors or suppliers. Workers in Florida should be aware of their rights and opportunities for recourse regarding this issue.
A woman who used to work at a Florida bar has been awarded $80,000 in a sexual harassment case. The plaintiff, who was a bartender at Christini's Ristorante Italiano in Orlando, claims that she was told to look date-ready and sexy while performing job duties. The woman alleges that she was terminated after expressing concerns about her treatment to management. She was terminated in March 2017 after starting work for the company in August 2015.
In Florida and around the country, the #MeToo movement has received a great deal of attention. Some associate workplace sexual harassment with the entertainment industry. But it is also prominent in a less likely field. Recent research has determined the medical profession to have an unwanted culture of predatory conduct. This is especially true in the area of medical academia.
It's not uncommon for workers in Florida to be subject to forced arbitration when making claims against their employers. However, those who work for Google will no longer have to enter into arbitration to resolve claims related to discrimination and wrongful termination. This is according to an announcement that the company made on Feb. 21. Arbitration can be harmful for employees as the cases are resolved in secret.
A NizNik Behavioral Health surveyed 1,010 full-time employees who worked for companies that allowed them to drink in the office or at company events. Of those surveyed, 45 percent discouraged them from drinking at all. This is because Florida employers and others could be exposed to legal liability related to actions taken after employees consume alcohol. According to the survey, drinking was most likely to take place during holiday parties.
Sexual harassment can take several forms at workplaces in Florida, but employer sexual harassment refers specifically to inappropriate behavior by authority figures directed at subordinates. A business owner, member of management or a supervisor who makes sexual advances, physical contact or lewd comments could create a hostile environment for workers. Even employees who are not targeted by the sexual comments might feel that they have to condone the behavior or risk their jobs.