While the rates of sexual harassment have fallen in recent years, it is still a pervasive problem, especially in the workplace.
Scandals such as the recent call for the resignation of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner remind us that the problem is not going away by itself, and that the harassment can hurt more than just the person who is being harassed. In the case of businesses, sexual harassment cases can divide teams, destroy trust, damage reputations, and potentially make the business lose money.
An accusation of sexual harassment, whether it is true or not, can be destructive. Either the allegations are true, and women are being treated in an abusive manner, or the allegations are false, and a dark shadow is cast over someone’s reputation.
It’s important to know your rights as an employee.
20-year-old Anthony worked as a cook and dishwasher at a Mountain Mike Pizza franchise near Antelope, CA, for six months. Anthony also suffers from bipolar disorder. During the time he was employed at the pizza place, his disorder did not affect his work performance. On one of his days off, Anthony had a breakdown and had to be hospitalized overnight, causing him to miss his shift the next day. His boss asked him to bring in a doctor’s note, which said “Crestwood Psychiatric Clinic” at the top.
As soon as Anthony’s employer found out about his bipolar disorder, she allegedly cut his hours to zero, while still keeping him on as a technical employee. She told him that she had no hours for him. This went on for about three weeks, until Anthony sat down with her. Then, he said, she accused him of threatening her, the company, and another employee.
Anthony had the presence of mind to contact the California Labor Board after he got fired, since he felt that his former employer was violating California labor laws. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against in the workplace, make sure to use the proper legal channels to report the incident and take action.