Accused individuals often take extreme measures to keep their cases out of court because the stakes are high when sexual harassment claims arise. These measures can, and often do, involve substantial payouts for their accusers. Considering the recent slew of sexual abuse allegations against high profile figures, it is important that working individuals understand their rights when they face sexual harassment, and how to handle any settlement offers they receive.
A non-disclosure agreement is a legally binding contract that prohibits an individual from discussing certain information. When a non-disclosure agreement stipulates that an accuser stop discussing their claims and alleged experiences in exchange for a large payout, they are used as a silencing tool. Agreeing to a cash settlement can stop a sexual harassment case from going to court. Rather, the parties each fulfill their parts of the agreement, then move on. A case kept out of court also keeps it from the public eye, which can permit the accused party to continue their public career without scrutiny.
Accusers can be discouraged from taking their cases to court by the costs associated with pursuing a sexual harassment claim. By not taking a case to court, the abuser can continue their behavior while the victim walks away without closure. In certain states, there are anti-secrecy laws in place that prohibit court orders from concealing information about individuals who pose a hazard to the public, but these laws only apply to cases that are heard and ruled upon in court.
Using the Tax Code to Fight Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
For an individual accused of sexual harassment, the money paid out to an accuser can often be written off as a business expense. In 1969, the tax code was amended to prohibit tax deduction for specific acts, such as healthcare kickbacks and lobbying efforts. However, settlements for emotional distress related to sexual harassment can also be written off. Currently, Congress is reviewing the tax code and considering closing this loophole, among others. In doing so, large settlements would be more expensive to silence victims, making it a priority for companies to take stronger measures to prevent sexual harassment.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Victims Seek Justice
If you faced sexual harassment in your workplace, an experienced Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyer can help you recognize abuse when it happens in your workplace, and work with you to seek the justice you deserve. Fill out our online form, or call us at 215-569-1999 to schedule your initial consultation with our team at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our office is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we work with clients throughout the state and southern New Jersey.