When an employee has to choose between paying rent and being able to purchase food, and being sexually harassed and stalked in the workplace, there is a definite problem that employers need to address. Sexual harassment, hostile work environments and retaliatory behavior has been highlighted many times across the country in the wake of the #MeToo movement and Minnesota is also taking steps to address pervasive unacceptable behavior in the workplace.
Regardless of one's race, gender, religious belief or age, Minneapolis residents deserve to work in a space that is free from discrimination and one where they feel safe and respected. Providing those workplaces is an employer's responsibility, but an employer could be far-removed from the workplace. This is where managers and supervisors come into play -- they keep up with what is happening in the office and are often the ones violated employees go to in order to report a problem. When a supervisor or manager neglects to address the problem and lets discrimination continue, they may be in violation of federal laws.
Returning to work after having a baby is an emotionally difficult time for mothers -- leaving one's child behind is tough enough. But, then having to work out the logistics of nursing and pumping just adds to the complications. And, breastfeeding women have some protections at work through federal laws that require time throughout the day to pump and a space to do so, which does not include a bathroom. Even these simple accommodations make it easier for breastfeeding women to return to work.
There are a number of misconceptions about sexual harassment in the workplace that may confuse Minnesota residents who believe they are being harassed or discriminated against on the basis of their sex. This may prevent someone from calling attention to unwanted behavior that makes them uncomfortable in their office space. Therefore, understanding what sexual harassment is and what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission looks at while investigating allegations can be helpful to all employees in their individual workplaces.
While employees in Minnesota may be aware that they are protected from retaliation from their employers if they assert their right to work in an atmosphere free from discrimination. But, what is included in a protected activity: an activity that it is illegal for someone to retaliate against an employee for? And what can be considered retaliation?
When an employer's or coworker's actions and behavior make it impossible to continue working in one's office and thereby alter the expectations of a comfortable workplace, a hostile workplace can said to have been created. But what behavior and language counts towards its legal requirements?
Sexual harassment can be physically dangerous and psychologically damaging to those who must endure it while at work. Minnesota and federal laws protect workers from sexual harassment, but an unfortunate number of individuals still suffer this demeaning form of provocation each year. Sexual harassment can take on different forms, and one of those forms is called quid pro quo harassment.
Most of the news coverage that our readers see is probably focused on national politics, rather than local politics. However, state laws can affect the lives of Minnesota residents even more so than national laws. For instance, a recent article noted how the state legislature is continuing to work on issues addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.
Sexual harassment has been in the news quite a bit in recent months, as women everywhere are calling out instances of bad behavior in the workplace. Minnesota is not immune from these types of incidents, and our readers would be well-served to know the basics about a sexual harassment claim.
When it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, many Minnesota residents will struggle with deciding what the best approach will be to attempt to solve the problem. For some, they may feel like they have enough clout with their employer for a direct confrontation about the problem, hoping that the employer will be shocked enough by the allegations to make an immediate change.