Have you ever been sexually harassed? After the bombshell news story about Harvey Weinstein, the hashtag #MeToo has shown that the problem is widespread. The hashtag gained traction after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted to her followers, asking them to write “me too” on Twitter and share their story. Within a day, more than 53,000 people shared their sexual harassment stories. Within 48 hours, the tweet was shared over a million times. According to Facebook, just under half of all users have at least one friend that posted #MeToo.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sex-based harassment in any aspect of employment is forbidden. Yet, the problem persists. Thousands of cases of sexual harassment in the workplace are reported every year, but the true number is likely much, much higher.
Why is it that many of these assaults go unreported? Simply put – it’s a difficult thing to talk about with uncertain outcomes. Taking the Harvey Weinstein allegations as an example, many of the victims described fear for their careers if they were to say anything. Many victims say they are not sure they will be believed. And even if they are believed, would anything be done about it?
The issues of harassment and assault are not unique to Hollywood. High-wage jobs, low-wage jobs, male-dominated fields and even female-dominated fields – sexual assault and harassment are everywhere. Some of the highest rates of EEOC charges come from restaurants, which are not a male-dominated industry.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace, we understand the difficulties you might have coming forward with it. But you have a right to a workplace free of this behavior. Know your rights and discuss your case with a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney.