HOUSTON, Texas. The confidentiality of some sexual harassment settlements has left some wondering whether they harm or protect individuals who have been harassed in the workplace. According to the Nation, many sexual harassment settlements come with confidentiality clauses. In many cases, larger companies or universities are willing to make confidential settlements with employees in order to avoid the bad publicity that goes along with a sexual harassment court case. Sometimes a private settlement can lead to a faster resolution. Many claims, in fact, are resolved in this manner before a case even goes to court. Court cases are public and are likely to draw the attention of the media. With a confidential settlement, the bad press is avoided.
Moore & Associates
HOUSTON, Texas. According to Click2Houston, more workers in Houston are asking “What is sexual harassment?” and “What can I do about it?” The #metoo movement has made more people aware of the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. Yet, some individuals may worry about the potential repercussions of reporting harassment. Others may not know whether they have experienced harassment. Is a co-worker asking you out on a date harassment? Is a crude remark harassment?
HOUSTON, Texas. What does it take to be believed? One woman writing for the New York Times, recently wrote about the arduous process of fighting her sexual harasser—who happened to be a professor. What does it take to fight back? Lawyers. Meetings with former co-workers, meetings with former co-workers in which former co-workers fail to defend you. Your emails may be read. Your former love life may be put on the stand. Women who fight sexual harassment may not only need an employment law attorney, they may need a public relations team. For women who work for smaller companies, smaller industries, or those who don’t have the money to pay for a whole legal team, sexual assault and harassment can be damaging personally and for their career. It may be years before women choose to fight back. And when they do, they may not be believed or they may be asked why they didn’t speak up sooner.
HOUSTON, Texas. If you are facing sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important to report it as soon as possible. If we were living in a perfect world, women who reported sexual harassment to human resources would be heard and protected. Unfortunately, many women who report sexual harassment face a long road to justice. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, anywhere between 87 and 94 percent of people don’t report sexual harassment. According to Bustle, many people don’t report harassment because they fear reprisal, retaliation, and stress. The New York Times recently released a series of videos that highlight the serious costs women pay when they report sexual harassment on the job. For the women who worked at Uber, she had to change teams and eventually left the company. HR gave her the option of staying on the team led by her harasser (where she was told she might face a bad review) or the option of leaving the team. The situation highlights how easy sexual harassment on the job can lead to lost opportunities. For a woman who worked for Bill O’Reilly, she reached a private settlement, but has never worked in television since. When sexual harassment comes from the top (executives, managers, bosses), individuals can face lost jobs, lost opportunities, or retaliation. When individuals are sexually harassed, they may face tough choices. Report the harassment, or leave the job; or, report the harassment and risk facing backlash from managers and other leaders in the company. These decisions can leave individuals choosing between personal dignity and their careers: a choice no one should ever have to make.
HOUSTON, Texas. Time Magazine recently announced its coveted “Person of the Year” cover. The people of the year for 2017 are the silence breakers—those who bravely spoke up about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. The Hollywood Harvey Weinstein scandal has shed light on the difficulty women face across many industries. After all, not all women have the power, prestige, and access to the media that stars have. Yet, Time notes that if female movie stars couldn’t stop a sexual harasser and assaulter for so many years, how much more difficult must it be for women who work in the food industry or for those who work in other jobs where the chance of reprisal is much higher?
HOUSTON, Texas. According to the New York Times, NBC fired Matt Lauer just hours after a woman reported that Lauer had made inappropriate sexual advances. NBC claimed that this was the first complaint it had received against the popular host of the Today show, but that the company had reason to believe that this was not an isolated incident. In fact, the Atlantic reports that NBC had been aware for months that reporters were working on stories regarding sexual harassment accusations against Lauer. In the days and weeks to come, we’ll likely learn more about the nature of the allegations against Lauer. Right now, Lauer’s firing has shocked many in America who have been watching him for two decades.