Employees in Florida subjected to sexual harassment need evidence to stand up for their rights. Documentation of ongoing behavior like lewd jokes, lower pay for the same work or even outright sexual assault could make the difference when trying to get an employer to acknowledge the problem.
Workers in Florida and elsewhere who are subjected to on-the-job sexual harassment are entitled to take legal action against their employers. For example, on Nov. 8, a group of Michigan workers filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against McDonald's Corp. after the company allegedly failed to protect them from harassment.
It has been traditionally seen as difficult for Florida employees to speak out against inappropriate behavior at work. However, companies are increasingly likely to want their people to point out instances of theft, harassment or other bad acts in the workplace. Of course, it can be difficult for employees to feel confident in addressing what they have seen or experienced to their superiors. One way to overcome that is to have employees report abusive behavior in groups.
A victim of sexual harassment at work in Florida may file a claim against their employer. However, there are certain statute of limitations rules to keep in mind. Someone who works for the federal government must generally file a claim with an EEO counselor within 45 days of the harassment occurring. Furthermore, the complaint must be filed within 15 days of notified by an EEO counselor about the filing process. Those who work for a private employer could have up to 300 days to make a sexual harassment claim.
Florida women who work in health care may face a significant amount of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. According to MedScape, the gap in women's pay in that profession compared to men is, on average, $36,000 annually compared to $96,000. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found in 2018 that as many as 50% of all women medical students face sexual harassment, and sexual harassment is three times more likely for them compared to women who work outside the STEM fields.
There are several reasons for a Florida worker to bring a sexual harassment claim sooner rather than later. The longer someone waits to report an instance of sexual harassment in the workplace, the more likely it is that others are being harassed in the interim. By reporting quickly after the event, the perpetrator may be forced to change his or her behavior before others can be harmed. Additionally, a long period of time between the harassing event and the report being filed can have negative effects on the claim.
While movements like #MeToo have drawn attention to the serious problem of workplace sexual harassment, too many workers find that they make complaints but see little action. Workers are often all too aware that the primary role of a human resources department is to protect the interests of the company rather than to ensure a safe, positive employment environment for all workers. Therefore, they may be hesitant to make a report about harassing behavior on the job, especially when the perpetrator is an executive, board member or other high-ranking official or employee. They may try to manage the problem on their own or avoid the harasser as much as possible.
Florida residents who follow celebrity news may be aware that Robert De Niro is embroiled in a legal battle with one of his Illinois-based film production company's former vice presidents. The woman, who resigned her position in April, claims that the 76-year-old actor acted inappropriately toward her and gave her demeaning tasks to perform. De Niro alleges that his former executive used her company credit card to pay personal expenses and spent hours each day binge-watching television shows instead of working.
On Sept. 26, local government officials from 31 states sent a letter to McDonald's Corp urging the company to improve sexual harassment protections for workers in Florida and across the country. The letter, which supports an employee-led campaign on the same issue, was sent by advocacy organization Local Progress.
Reality TV fans in Florida might remember Angelina Pivarnick on "Jersey Shore." She appeared on the show in 2009 and 2010 before returning in 2018 to film revival episodes. In her life outside the television show, she works as an emergency medical technician for the New York City Fire Department's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. On Sept. 16, she filed a lawsuit against the city for allegedly being sexually harassed by two male lieutenants working at the department.