UC Berkeley is investigating 26 claims of sexual harassment only months after multiple scandals involving staff misconduct were reported on by the press. Campus officials recently convened to discuss strategies for dealing with the explosion in sexual harassment cases. The University of California system could become ensnared by multiple new cases, and UC president Janet Napolitano has called for actions to prevent further acts of sexual harassment.
Most recently, the head basketball coach was fired after a sexual harassment claim was filed by a female reporter. After an investigation, the university initiated termination proceedings against the coach. Prior to this case, an astronomy professor was asked to resign after several sexual harassment claims were filed by students. The professor allegedly sexually harassed female students between the years of 2001 and 2010. Even the Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law was sued for sexual harassment.
What are the Effects of Sexual Harassment on Students or Faculty?
Sexual harassment can have lingering and damaging effects for students and faculty members of any university. The negative health effects of sexual harassment include depression, high blood pressure, post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia. A professor at the University of Maine discovered sexual harassment can cause depression for years, and victims may blame themselves for the incidents.
There are safeguards for students and faculty members to protect themselves from sexual harassment. In California, employers must enact guidelines to protect against sexual harassment. Staff members at California universities who have experienced sexual harassment can contact the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to file complaints.
Employees experiencing sexual harassment can also contact a labor law attorney to explore additional legal options.