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Dealing with sexual harassment at the workplace

Sexual harassment occurs in every profession. State and federal statistics report thousands of such incidents each year. Reporting sexual harassment, however, is seldom an easy process. Employees who file complaints also sometimes face negative consequences. This in turn discourages such individuals from filing complaints to begin with.

Even law enforcement officers face allegations of sexual harassment occurring at the workplace. Accusations by a female officer resulted in one police chief placed on paid administrative leave. The female officer claims the Police Chief continually made unwanted sexual advances towards her. After she repeatedly turned down these advances, she then claims she faced disciplinary proceedings at the police chief’s request.

We don’t have enough information to determine whether these allegations are true. However, this incident did trigger an internal investigation into the police department in question. The city also requested an outside group to conduct an independent review into the practices of the police department.

Unfortunately, retaliation often results against victims when reports of sexual harassment occur. Even with state and federal laws in place designed to protect those making allegations, retaliation happens in any case. This includes the loss of job, losing out on work-related opportunities, and shunning or isolation at the workplace.

Lawyers skilled in the area of workplace harassment are familiar with the kinds of conduct leading to complaints of sexual harassment. Due to actions they file, businesses either make needed changes to prevent sexual harassment or continue facing additional complaints. Employers need to have a process in place for dealing with reports of harassment. They need to demonstrate that they are taking these reports seriously and are taking appropriate actions.

Source: Press Connects, “Reporting workplace harassment poses unique challenges,” Megan Brockett, March 31, 2015

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