One out of four women will experience sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That is an extraordinary and appalling number. Even in the #MeToo era, the sad fact remains that the corporate world still tends to protect the perpetrators of such acts rather than the victims. For Les Moonves, former president of CBS, and others who have lost high-powered positions because of sexual harassment accusations, it is primarily the victims who suffer, not their antagonists. Much of this is due to the prevalence of arbitration agreements in employment contracts.
One reason that the public does not hear about corporate sexual perpetrators is because most private employers require non-union employees to sign arbitration agreements. Such agreements are a basic condition of employment, so workers have little choice. If there is a dispute, the employee must take it to an arbitrator selected by the employer. All agreements reached under arbitration are confidential, so the truth is not exposed.
When a top employee is accused of sexual harassment, it often happens that rather than deal directly with the complaint, a company conducts a risk and reward analysis regarding the situation. That means if the employee is considered valuable enough, he is not going to lose his job, even if there were multiple complaints. Instead, he may simply be moved to another area. It is not unusual for an employee to go back to his old position if his accusers leave the company.
Lawsuit to Hear Harassment Cases in Public
A Houston attorney filed a lawsuit in April 2018 that challenged the ability of employers to force sexual harassment cases to go before arbitration. The client he represents was hired as a private tutor at the home of a CEO, but later became the personal assistant to the CEO’s wife. In that position, she alleges she was subjected to a sexualized working environment, in which she had to deal with nudity, propositioning, and inappropriate images. Complaining about the situation got her fired in July 2017. She, too, had signed an agreement requiring mandatory arbitration. The attorney says he knows the lawsuit is an uphill battle, but his client was willing to become the poster child because she did not want what happened to her to happen to other workers.
At the end of the day, it is necessary for state and federal legislators to pass laws keeping companies from protecting alleged predators. Without such laws, there is no real incentive for companies to stop protecting powerful executives.
Chester County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Sexual Harassment
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual harassment, you need the services of the experienced Chester County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Please call 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. We are in Philadelphia, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.