In recent months, the media has shone a spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in the film and media industry and even in Congress. Consequently, working men throughout the country have been feeling uneasy, trying to remember if they ever crossed a professional boundary in this regard. Others claim that sexual harassment laws are being applied too harshly and almost any interaction between employees in the workplace can be interpreted as an act of sexual harassment.
The truth, however, is that sexual harassment is still just as difficult to prove as it was in the past. In order to have a strong hostile work environment case, behavior must be both severe and pervasive. Many people are seeing sexual harassment allegations in the news and on social media, but most cases are not so public. Cases involving public figures or large corporations are typically the ones to make it to the headlines, while cases involving regular individuals have the right to privacy.
There is no need to frantically check your past online conversations or panic about the compliment you made regarding an employee’s flattering dress. Most of the cases displayed in the media involved serious abuse of power to criminal assault. Nevertheless, companies will likely remain on high alert regarding any workplace harassment complaints and may reassess their reporting protocol.
To read more about how the current social atmosphere may apply to workplace sexual harassment cases, refer to this article written by Virginia Sexual Harassment Attorney Tom Spiggle from the Spiggle Law Firm.