According to a recent survey conducted with more than 1,000 women working in the fast food industry, 40 percent have been sexually harassed at work. The women, working in non-managerial roles in restaurants across the country, reported sexual jokes and remarks, unwanted physical contact, and questions about their sexual lifestyle. Forty percent of the women reporting harassment opted not to tell management. The report brings questions about why sexual harassment is so pervasive in the fast food industry and why it goes unreported.
Sexual harassment under the law
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination on the job based upon race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. An employee’s hiring, firing, salary, and opportunities cannot be influenced or affected by how they identity in any of these ways. Sexual harassment includes unwanted comments, suggestions, and physical contact of a sexual nature and does not always involve a supervisor and a subordinate. Workplace sexual harassment can also involve peers, clients, or customers. The victim and harasser can also be the same sex.
Why workers choose not to report sexual harassment
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that 70 percent of people experiencing sexual harassment never tell a superior. Employees that choose not to report harassment often assume nothing will come of their claims, while others fear retaliation if they report such behavior. They simply believe they need to put up with offensive or unwelcome behavior to keep their jobs. Many workplaces permit a culture of inappropriate sexual jokes and suggestions despite the law.
Still others are unaware of the laws in place to protect them from such offensive behavior. Workers who believe they must endure sexual harassment experience serious health problems such as loss of appetite, problems sleeping, anxiety, and depression.
Preventing workplace sexual harassment
Employers need to establish a no-tolerance zone for sexual harassment in the workplace. Anti-harassment policies should be clearly communicated to every employee upon hiring and reintroduced on a regular basis.
Routine sexual harassment training teaches staff what behaviors are considered sexual harassment and how to report it. Consequences for sexual harassment should be clearly defined and consistently enforced. Retaliation against workers who file sexual harassment claims should never be tolerated and ongoing training and vigilance will help to create a safe work environment for every employee.
Marlton Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Protect Victims of Sexual Harassment
Workers experiencing sexual harassment should feel safe and empowered to report such behavior. Victims of sexual harassment at work have legal recourse. Marlton sexual harassment lawyers at the law offices of McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. advocate for victims of sexual harassment, acting for the best resolution possible. Schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Marlton sexual harassment lawyer by calling 856-985-9800 or by using the convenient online contact form.
With offices in Red Bank, Newark and Marlton, McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. serves clients throughout New Jersey, including those in Burlington County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, and the towns of Middletown, Long Branch, Old Bridge, Freehold, Hazlet, Howell, Wall, Brick, Edison and East Brunswick.