Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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Another well-known personality has been fired over allegations of sexual abuse and/or harassment. Matt Lauer, host of NBC’s the Today Show for more than two decades, was fired on Wednesday after the network received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior.”

Since Lauer’s firing, up to eight more women have come forward with similar allegations about a man who many of those who work at NBC referred to as one of the most powerful people at the network.

According to sources who have spoken with Lauer, he is “shocked and dumbfounded and completely bewildered” by the complaint the victim filed with the network because, in his mind, he thought it was “a consensual affair.

Lauer’s firing and the accusations against him follow the firings of other powerful men in show business and journalism, including Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, and Louis C.K.

Attorney Neal Goldstein commented, “What these incidents have exposed is the prevalence of sexual harassment, particularly in the workplace. Although it seems only the stories of the famous are making headlines, thousands of women and men who have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted in the workplace are finding the courage to come forward and learning they are not alone.”

What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workplace sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment that are of a sexual nature. The EEOC recognizes two types of sexual harassment:

Quid Pro Quo Harassment – Quid pro quo is Latin for “this for that.” When an employer’s decision is based on whether or not an employee accepts or rejects unwanted sexual advances, this is classified as quid pro quo harassment. Many of the victims who have come forward in the Weinstein, Rose, and other cases said they felt that if they didn’t go along with the assaults and harassments, their careers would be in jeopardy.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment – With this type of harassment, the victims are subjected to unwanted sexual advances, touching, comments, and other behaviors that create a work environment that is intimidating and hostile. For example, many women who were the target of Harvey Weinstein say left the film business entirely because of the hostility he created because they rejected his behavior.

What Can I Do if I Am a Victim of Workplace Sexual Harassment?

If you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment, there are steps you can take against the offender. Report the incidents to your supervisor or manager. If that is the person who is the offender, then go to their supervisor. You also want to file a complaint with the company’s human resources department.

You should also consider contacting a sexual assault attorney with Goldstein and Bashner. An attorney can help advocate for you throughout the entire process. If the company does not take the appropriate actions against the offender, your attorney may also assist you with filing a complaint with the EEOC.

Your attorney can also discuss with you your legal options about filing a lawsuit against your employer and seeking damages for the emotional and physical injuries the harassment or abuse has caused you.

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