Many traditionally male-dominated fields are marked by sexual harassment. Sometimes, men in the field are actively working to keep women out. In other cases, powerful men may feel entitled to make sexual advances toward female subordinates. Regardless of the motivation, the result is often a deeply uncomfortable or even dangerous workplace for women.
Fox News has been making some changes since the sexual harassment scandals that roiled the company last year. Chairman Roger Ailes and host Bill O'Reilly were forced out after lawsuits and reports revealed that they had sexually harassed women and then silenced their accusers with confidential settlement agreements. The network was ultimately revealed to harbor a culture where Ailes was free to harass young women and sexual harassment was tolerated overall. Both men were ousted.
In the shadows of the #MeToo movement, more employees are coming forward and speaking out about incidents of sexual harassment. But, for some victims, it isn’t as easy to speak out about what’s been going on behind closed doors – especially as a small business employee.
Recently, the New York Times reported that two former NFL cheerleaders filed discrimination complaints against the league and the teams they worked for. Their complaints have been followed by an outpouring of support from other NFL cheerleaders, who say the league and some teams allow overtly sexual and hostile work environments.
The New York City Council has sent a package of bills called the "Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act" to Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk. The legislation, which if signed would go into effect next April, notably contains an anti-sexual harassment training mandate aimed at supervisors and managers in private companies with 15 or more employees.
Thanks to a potential class action lawsuit against Microsoft, information has been released about how many gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaints the company received, along with how it handled those complaints. Between 2010 and 2016, women working technical jobs at Microsoft in the U.S. filed 238 internal complaints about sex discrimination or sexual harassment. Of those, 118 were for sex discrimination.
A Fox News correspondent and a Washington Post reporter are the latest to suffer negative job actions due to apparent sexual harassment complaints. Fox's James Rosen reportedly left Fox News after the network began looking into sexual misconduct allegations against him. Joel Achenbach of the Post has been given a 90-day suspension after unspecified misconduct said to involve female colleagues.
Following the national conversation and steps in the federal government, New York is starting 2018 with a crackdown on sexual harassment.
Female executive for a food exporter settled her gender discrimination case for a significant "confidential" sum, pursuant to a negotiated severance agreement and package. Client was subjected to an extremely hostile environment including senior management's culture of derogatory and discriminatory conduct towards females. Reference to female employees as 'fucking cunts'; comments made to other female employees that they were only useful if seen when wearing sexy short skirts"; Female executives were routinely paid less than males for similar work.
With all the talk of sexual harassment and misconduct these days, a lot of people are confused. What actually constitutes sexual harassment? What conduct is illegal at work? Can you get in trouble merely for offending an especially touchy person? Is giving someone a pat on the back going to get you fired?