Eliminating sex discrimination through research, education and legal activities
presented by Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women National Women’s Law Center
Did you know the Supreme Court watered down protections for victims of harassment in the workplace?
As a result of the Court’s ruling in Vance v. Ball State University, unless an employee’s boss is also in charge of making decisions like hiring and firing, it’s really difficult for an employee to hold her employers responsible if she’s harassed on the job. Just think about it for a second. How many people at your job can give you assignments, but don’t actually do the hiring and firing? The answer is usually a lot. Thanks to the Vance ruling, it will be much harder to hold your employer responsible if you are harassed by one of those people when it comes to harassment in the workplace.
Fortunately, some leaders in Congress are doing something about it. Today, the Fair Employment Protection Act was introduced in the House and Senate
Why do we need this bill? Take what happened to Clara Whitten: She said her supervisor at Fred’s dollar store told her to “be good to him and give him what he wanted” if she wanted long weekends off from work, and that he would make her life a “living hell” if she ever took matters “over [his] head.” He pressed his genitals against her back, and called her dumb and stupid repeatedly. He demanded that Whitten meet him in the storeroom in the back of the store. When she refused because she was afraid of what would happen, he ordered her to stay late to clean. He told her to leave the store spotless even if it took all night.
A national poll says 25 percent of women and 10 percent of men have been sexually harassed at work. Anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and weight loss are just a few of the problems they experience. And all too often, harassment costs a worker her job.