The past year has seen an explosion of harassment claims in the employment marketplace. No business sector has been left untouched: Hollywood, Las Vegas, Professional Sports, the Education Sector as well as well established businesses have all seen high profile, highly toxic revelations about misconduct in the workplace. Commercial lawyers will tell you this is dangerous territory for a company.
A few examples stand out:
Hollywood: Hollywood, particularly the revelations about Harvey Weinstein has been the focal point for many of the claims. Celebrity newscaster, journalists, movie makers, musicians and even chefs have all seen their share of upsetting revelations. To name just a few: Matt Lauer, Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman, Geraldo Rivera, Steven Segal among many others.
Las Vegas: The gaming industry has not been immune to its share of harassment claims, Steve Wynn, the CEO of Wynn Resorts and perhaps the most high profile figure in Las Vegas suddenly stepped down as Chairman and CEO after allegations surfaced chronicling a years-long pattern of abuse.
Sports: The University of Arizona fired coach Rich Rodriguez after sexual misconduct allegations.
Automotive: Raj Nair – Ford’s president was ousted for unspecified inappropriate behavior.
Politics: The number of offenders in this category are almost too numerous to mention, but a few names of those accused of misconduct are: Bill Clinton, Senator Al Franken and Judge Roy Moore.
Unfortunately, the phrase sexual harassment has been so co-opted into our modern vocabulary that it sometimes leads to erroneous idea of what “sexual harassment” actually is. To clear things up, let’s go straight to the law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: