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High Profile Sexual Harassment Claims: Workplaces Still Have Problems

Experienced Attorneys Protecting Sexual Harassment Victims in New York’s Workplaces

In the late 1960s, when Don Draper was performing his advertising magic on Madison Avenue, Phillip Morris Co. used a famous ad series to sell a brand of cigarettes designed specifically for women. Its pitch now seems out of place – even anachronistic: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” The ad series applauded the strides made by American women, particularly in the workplace. Almost 50 years later, TV personality Gretchen Carlson’s recent $20 million settlement with Fox News’ parent company illustrates the fact that while women may have come far within the workplace, all too many are still subjected to sexual harassment (and worse) along the way.

Sexual Harassment Statistics

Statistics regarding sexual harassment in the workplace are actually difficult to estimate since, according to a survey taken by Cosmopolitan magazine, 71 percent of women who experience harassment don’t report it. According to that survey, one in three women between the ages of 18-34 have been sexually harassed at work. Government statistics indicate nearly one in three charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involves gender discrimination. Of these charges, women filed nearly 3 in 4 claims. The issues most frequently alleged were discharge, harassment, and sexual harassment.

Numbers Depend, in Part, on Harassment Definition

Harassment statistics depend, of course, upon the definition of harassment. It’s broader than many men think. According to one national women’s association, workplace sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Many Women Fear Retaliation if They Report Harassing Behavior

HR experts observe that it is not at all uncommon for women to worry about the repercussions of making a sexual harassment complaint. If a male executive is powerful enough to think he can get away with harassment, he’s generally the sort that will lash back when confronted. It’s sometimes called the “sluts or nuts defense” – the notion that the women either “asked for it” or is crazy. In an effort to refute the charges, the executive or employer may defend by claiming that the female employee’s performance was unsatisfactory, as some at Fox News did in Carlson’s case.

Other HR experts say that with Gretchen Carlson’s public stance (and her success in taking it), others will be emboldened to speak out against their own harassment in the workplace. It’s too early to say. When another former Fox News anchorwoman, Andrea Tantaros, filed another sexual harassment suit against her employer and Roger Ailes, of whom Carlson had complained, the employer’s response included allegations that Tantaros was merely “an opportunist.”

Hacker Murphy is Here to Help

Have you been subjected to harassment at work? Has a co-worker or supervisor made unwelcome sexual advances? Alternatively, has your business been accused of sexual harassment? The law firm of Hacker Murphy is one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. Having represented clients for years, we are among the top rated lawyers in the country, achieving the highest ratings from both client groups and our peers. Call us now at (518) 284-3183 or complete our online form. The Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even on holidays.