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Business and commercial employer defense during the “me too” era

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2019 | Business & Commercial, Firm News |

In Alabama and across the nation, employee rights and protections are becoming major topics of discussion. For workers who have claimed to have faced employment violations especially in the context of sexual harassment, it is important that they understand their rights. Certainly, no employer wants an employee to feel uncomfortable and the employer does not want to face scrutiny and a legal filing. Still, employers also have rights and the social media campaign “me too” with its hashtag and automatic acceptance of any claim of sexual harassment as fact is problematic for employers. When there is an accusation, it is imperative to have a business and commercial law firm experienced in employment matters to provide a defense.

Research shows that sexual harassment has reduced in the two-plus years since it became a common source of protest and action. From 2016 to 2018, there was a reduction in women facing sexual attention they did not want and they were not coerced for sexual purposes as often. However, there was a rise in other levels of harassment. Women are increasingly willing to come forward with stories of harassment and seek to be compensated for what happened to them. They have the right to do this, of course. But employers also have the right to defend themselves against these claims.

Researchers spoke to more than 500 women. One group took apart in a survey in 2016 to discuss the types of harassment they faced. Another group took part in 2018. They ranged in ages between 25 and 45. All were professionals and worked full-time. Approximately 60% said they were midlevel employees. The study found that there was a reduction in sexual-based harassment. However, they saw a rise in gender-based harassment with sexist comments and showing them material they considered sexist. There was also a reluctance on the part of males to be alone with females and a sense of hostility.

This is the perception that the women who took part in the survey presented, but there could be other reasons for the belief that men were being hostile or expressed a reluctance to be overtly involved with women professionally. The growing number of legal filings regarding sexual harassment and the damage it can do to males in the workplace – even if they are innocent – could be construed as a source of worry. Business and commercial entities must protect themselves as wrongful accusations do happen quite frequently. A law firm experienced in employment law will understand these issues and help with a defense to avoid a negative outcome and image in the community that can damage the business.