The New York Times recently published an article that discusses why women at Fox News may have been afraid to report their bosses for sexual harassment. Fox News, and specifically long-time anchor Bill O’Reilly, are in the middle of a major sexual harassment scandal. Bill O’Reilly has faced accusations of sexual harassment from female coworkers and is now under investigation by 21st Century Fox. According to the New York Times, women are not reporting sexual harassment because they fear being fired or permanently damaging their careers.
Many businesses, 21st Century Fox included, have a human resources department. So why were women at Fox News afraid to discuss the harassment with human resources? According to the New York Times, women reported they were afraid of being fired if they complained. Companies also have anonymous hotlines to report harassment or other violations. However, as we saw with the Wells Fargo hotline, complaints may not always be anonymous.
What Protections Do Women Have While Reporting Sexual Harassment?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects women from sexual harassment. It also protects women who report sexual harassment from retaliation. For example, if women report the behavior to superiors or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Sexual harassment is not always physical. It can include verbal harassment (slurs and jokes) or offering benefits in exchange for sexual favors (quid pro quo – or “this for that”). If you are experiencing this kind of behavior, it can help to have an experienced employment law attorney on your side. An attorney may help protect you from employer retaliation should you choose to report the harassment.
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at the Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob can help workers look at options for fighting back against employer retaliation.