One of my favorite shows on TV is AMC’s Mad Men. It is brilliant in every way. One element of the show, however, is shocking to those of us born of a more recent generation and that is the frequency and severity of the sexual harassment to which the women are subjected. Obviously, we have come a long way in this area and no one would recognize the type of office that mad men depicts. We have not, however, resolved the problem of sexual harassment at work. There is a reason that all major companies require employees to participate in “workplace sensitivity” and other human resource trainings to prevent sexual harassment.
It does still happen, and more often then we may think. A great deal of sexual harassment cases are never discussed because the victim is afraid to come forward for fear that she will not be believed or that she may be fired, etc.
Both State and Federal law prohibits sexual harassment. Unlawful sexual harassment is often defined as: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, under any of the following conditions: (a) submission to the sexual conduct is made a condition of employment, either expressly or impliedly, (b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions (i.e. loss of a job promotion opportunity) affecting that individual, or (c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or (d) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.