Recent posts here have commented on the current state of discussion regarding sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace, not to mention the significantly increased news coverage that our readers are likely seeing on a daily basis. It seems that this issue is finally getting the attention that is needed to make some changes in workplaces in Minnesota and across the country. Unfortunately, it may take the law some additional time to properly recognize the degree of sexual harassment that can make an employee feel victimized.
Some people are of the opinion that the bar to meet when labeling offensive conduct sexual harassment is too high, as the law is currently written. From previous posts here, our readers know that there are several state and federal laws that protect employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. But, is the bar to meet on these types of claims too high?
As the law stands now, the offensive conduct in question must be more than a one-off joke or comment. The law defines sexual harassment as conduct that creates a hostile work environment due to the extreme level of the offensive or intimidating conduct in question.
Maybe, in light of the increased scrutiny on sexual harassment that is occurring in workplaces nationwide, our state and federal lawmakers will re-examine the current standard to meet for a sexual harassment claim to be deemed valid. However, for now, anyone in Minnesota who believes that they have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace may need to get more information about their current rights under the law.
Source: Star Tribune, “When it comes to sexual harassment, the doors to the courthouse are shut,” Jean Boler, Nov. 20, 2017