The latest breaking news story about sexual harassment in the work place involves Steve Wynn, who has owned multiple casinos in Las Vegas, as well as in China, as well as a new casino opening in New England. Wynn has been accused of forcing employees to have sex, as well as of decades of behavior that involved pressuring women to perform sex acts. The details are both disturbing and all-too familiar in light of the onslaught of revelations that have come about similarly powerful men in the last several months. The #MeToo movement is making news every day, but none of it is surprising to an attorney whose practice has been dedicated to protecting employees from these types of abuses for the past 25 years. People in power frequently abuse it, and that is why New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination is so important. It protects people who have suffered discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other work-related problems.
In the case of Steve Wynn, one former employee was reportedly paid a $7.5 million settlement. Wynn Resorts defended itself by indicating that it is committed to a safe and respectful culture and that it offers an anonymous hotline for the reporting of harassment. In the last several months victims of all types of sexual abuse and harassment have felt emboldened and empowered enough to begin stepping forward and speaking up in droves, and as a result discrimination in the workplace has been getting new attention.
According to a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review, men and women have a vastly different experience and understanding of how often sexual harassment occurs, though they tend to agree on what it is. Their report showed that almost two thirds of men felt that "the amount of sexual harassment at work is greatly exaggerated," where women report frequently experiencing unwelcome requests to meet outside of work, comments on their appearance, and questions about their personal life.
According to the EEOC1 By definition, sexual harassment includes "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature" that includes explicit or implicit acceptance of the advance as a condition of keeping or getting a job or that interferes with the person's ability to do the job, or that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. As more stories continue to come to light, there's a real hope that workplaces will take more action and pay closer attention to what is happening in their environment. When they don't, employees have the right to take legal action. EEOC definition of Sexual Harassment can be found here https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html