As an attorney who has defended sexual harassment victims in the Courts I am very familiar with the problems with current Federal law. Here are my five recommendations to stop workplace sexual harassment so there are no more #metoo:
1. There ought to be a law. Current sexual harassment law is based on a 1977 Supreme Court decision that says sexual harassment is part of sexual discrimination and prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This essentially means that unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace teeters on our current makeup of what has become a very conservative Court. We need a law that specifically addresses workplace sexual harassment.
2. Define Sexual Harassment through the Victim’s Eyes. The Supreme Court definition of a sexually hostile environment is fuzzy, defined through the employer’s rights and responsibilities, and largely ignores a victim’s perspective. This means many potential claims of sexual harassment have no real legal remedy. This needs to change.
3. Increase Monetary Penalties. If you really want to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, damages to victims should be tripled. Other Federal statutes such as RICO and Whistleblower/Qui Tam have triple damages, workplace sexual harassment is just as important to stop.
4. Personal Liability for Harassers and Aiders/Abettors. Beyond corporate liability/employer, harassers should be held personally liable. In addition, anyone who had a duty or power to protect a victim, and knowingly failed to take action, should also be personally liable.
5. Lengthen the Statute of Limitations- A victim of workplace sexual harassment must file a Federal claim in less than a year. This doesn’t protect the victim, it protects the harasser and employer.
No more #metoo