Following her termination from a popular television series after allegedly facing sexual harassment from the show’s crew, an actor filed a sexual harassment claim against the show’s network. In it, she stated that she was referred to using demeaning language on a scene’s call sheet, and after discussing the language with a supervisor, was told she could easily be replaced. Less than a week later, she was fired. According to her claim, the network’s reason for terminating her was that her hair was not the right color for the character for whom she was a body double. However, the actor stated that this was not the case because she wore a wig during filming previous scenes.
Sexual harassment comes in many forms. It is not always the act of offering favorable treatment in exchange for sexual contact, known as quid pro quo. In many cases, it is the subjection of an individual or group to frequent demeaning remarks and inappropriate language, also known as a hostile work environment.
Appearance-based Objectification and Belittling are Sexual Harassment
When an individual or group is reduced to their looks or sexual attributes, they suffer from sexual harassment. This is also known as objectification. Sometimes, this comes in the form of pet names like “cutie” and “sweetie.” In others, it comes in the form of overtly sexual remarks made to and about the victim and discussions of their sexual worth. In the case discussed above, the actor claimed that her request that the objectification stop was met with invalidation and reiteration that she could be replaced at any time. Attempts to silence a sexual harassment victim are perpetuation of the harassment.
Harassment is a broad term that can include belittling and other harmful remarks. Belittling is the act of putting another party down under a mask of friendliness or wisdom. For example, telling an individual that their struggles are not actually difficult or that their concerns are not valid is belittlement.
Wrongful Termination as a Form of Retaliation
There is an additional dimension to the case discussed above: a wrongful termination as retaliation for discussing sexual harassment with a supervisor. American workers have the right to engage in certain protected activities, which include discussing their experiences with their colleagues and supervisors and filing harassment and other types of discrimination claims.
Although employers can typically fire employees for any reason, or no reason at all, this right excludes firing employees for illegal reasons. One illegal reason to fire an employee is the employee’s participation in a protected activity. This is an act of retaliation, action taken to punish an employee for hurting the company in some way. Others include demoting the employee, passing them over for promotions, and subjecting them to harassment at work.
Chester County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Sexual Harassment Victims Seek Justice and Compensation for their Damages
Even in industries where appearance is part of a worker’s job, sexual harassment is not acceptable. If you have faced sexual harassment in your workplace, you have the right to seek compensation for your resulting damages through a sexual harassment claim. Fill out our online form or call 215-569-1999 to schedule your initial consultation with a Chester County sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. We are located in Philadelphia and work with clients from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.