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Despite difficulties, reporting sexual harassment may be worth it

People in Minneapolis may recall the $20 million sexual harassment settlement between Gretchen Carlson, who was working as an anchor for Fox News, and Roger Ailes, who was the Fox News chief at the time of the reported events. Carlson has since announced that she will move on from being a news anchor to advocate against arbitration clauses in many employment contracts that require that sexual harassment claims be resolved in a private manner.

Sometimes, if a woman files a lawsuit for sexual harassment, it can be difficult for her to move on after the lawsuit has settled or the trial has completed. The reason for this, according to one attorney, is that if a woman goes public with a claim of sexual harassment and chooses to seek employment elsewhere, other employers may fear that the woman would also file similar charges against them. Moreover, some women may find that it takes a while to recover from sexual harassment and the aftermath of the harassment case, even those who had been awarded substantial sums of money in their case.

However, discriminating against a woman who has reported an instance of sexual harassment is illegal. An employer cannot state that they will not hire those who have been involved in sexual harassment cases in the past. Therefore, women who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace should not be afraid to speak up and take legal action if necessary. A settlement or trial win can provide the victim of harassment with the means necessary to rebuild their lives. And many who reported harassment say that they would do so again if necessary.

It takes courage and strength to speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace. People may fear they will be retaliated against if they do so, or that their employers will not listen to them or address the situation. However, workers have the legal right to report sexual harassment in the workplace and employers are bound to respond in an appropriate manner. Those who have reported sexual harassment and are in need of legal help may want to contact an attorney.

Source: Fortune, "Sexual Harassment Survivors Talk About the Aftermath of Going Public," Laura Cohn, Dec. 15, 2016

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