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Sexism in the Workplace: #MeToo’s time has come, so how to we make a more respectful and equal working environment?

 

Sexism in the workplace

#MeToo is a movement that is overdue. But how do we get from #MeToo to what’s next?

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Although most governments have enacted laws prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, sexism is still alive and well today. Even in 2017, many people are being sexually harassed or even assaulted in the workplace. And there are many, many women in this world who have dealt with sexism on the job.  Sexism is a type if discrimination and should not be tolerated.

Here are some tips for how to make it through this painful situation if it is happening to you or a loved one:

 

Shut. It. Down.
Don’t settle for a workplace that allows harassment and sexism to continue. If it is safe for you to do so, confront the offender. Ask them why they treated you the way they did. Report the behavior to your boss or to the Human Resources Department. If a crime has been committed, like sexual battery, call the police.  It isn’t the 1950’s anymore.  If someone at work pinches your “ass,” they may have committed a crime and may be subject to arrest and prosecution.

At very least, call the person out. Confront them.  Just be ready to protect yourself in the event that the person decides to retaliate against you for bringing their bad behavior to light. (Read on for some tips on how to handle retaliation.)

We live in a society where our disgusting president, the criminal in chief,  would like nothing more than to shove a tic tac up every woman’s “pussy.”  Though this came to light before the 2016 Presidential Election, America nonetheless deemed this man fit for the Oval Office instead of prison.  It is time to take back our collective and individual dignity.  Just because America and Republicans – even so-called “evangelicals” or the “Religious Right” supported that disgusting pig doesn’t mean that his grubby hands are the law of our land.  This stops now.

Prepare for retaliation.
It’s difficult enough being the victim of sexual harassment – or witnessing sexism happen to someone else. I so deeply wish that I could tell you we live in a world where you could do the right thing and not suffer any consequences. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in.

The sad truth is: there is a very real possibility that, when you report the sexual harassment or sexism you’ve experienced, that the person who is responsible for treating you that way will not appreciate you calling them out. They may or may not have a change of heart and try to act better next time. Sometimes, this just fuels their fire and causes the bad behaviors to escalate.

So what can you do? Be prepared for the worst case scenario before you report anything. Know how you plan on responding if the person does indeed retaliate (because they just might). Have a strong support system in place (hopefully, you have supportive people in your life anyway).  Try to consult with a lawyer beforehand.  An attorney versed in sexual harassment and workplace discrimination law could help a lot.  Hostile workplace claims may lie after incidents of sexual harassment.  A settlement involving money can’t repair your dignity, but it can send a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

It also helps to know the local laws in your area. Chances are, there are laws prohibiting your employer from firing you or retaliating against you for reporting a case of sexual harassment. Know your legal rights and be prepared to advocate for yourself if those rights are violated.

Report it to HR.
Rather than trying to handle everything on your own, know who you can turn to for help. Human resources staff members are literally trained to deal with this type of situation. That’s what they’re there to do. Allow them to do their job, and you can take a deep breath and know you did the right thing by getting them involved.

I wish we lived in a world without sexism, sexual assault, sexual harassment, mansplaining, or a whole list of other issues we women have to deal with on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in; this one is. In this world, we will occasionally be faced with very difficult situations.

Hopefully, you don’t ever have to deal with sexism or sexual harassment in the workplace. If you ever do, though, I hope this article offers you some guidance during a difficult time.

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This is a guest post by Constance Ray. This post has been edited for syntax and grammar.  The Law offices of Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the accuracy of the content herein or any opinions or ideas expressed herein.  This post is for entertainment and literary value and is not intended as legal advice.  If you have legal questions about ideas presented herein please contact a lawyer knowledgeable in this field of practice.

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