Nearly every employee has heard the term "sexual harassment," but not everyone understands exactly what it means. In spite of efforts by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and various Minnesota organizations, myths abound in this area of law.
No matter the age or sex of an employee, the issue of sexual harassment at work is well known. While employees in Minnesota and elsewhere are aware of the seriousness of sex discrimination, many are not fully prepared to deal with such a situation. Moreover, some may not be able to distinguish instances of sexual harassment, causing them to not take appropriate action against mistreatment at work.
Women in the workforce have encountered various setbacks and pitfalls in the past. Although it is presumed that males and females are treated equally in the workplace, this is not always the case. Some female employees experience unequal treatment when they do not receive comparable salaries and promotion opportunities. In addition to sex discrimination, women in the workplace also experience sexual harassment. These situations often lead to a hostile work environment, and the employee could experience damages.
It is expected that employees will be treated properly in the work environment, but it is also implied that their civil rights will be upheld. Although this is commonly thought to be true and ideal, this is not always how workplaces function. Employment discrimination does occur, and when it happens it not only affects the individual, but it could also touch and concern the whole workplace. This is especially true if a hostile work environment results or retaliation by the employer occurs.
When a person enters a new career field or starts a new job, they are often nervous and excited about this new journey. There are numerous things that new employees in Minnesota and across the nation will consider when taking on a new job. One thing that is not often thought about is discrimination. Women entering the workforce might believe that after decades of gaining a stronger and more equal appearance in the work world, they would not have to endure discrimination or harassment based on their gender or any other attribute. Nonetheless, some women still experience this uncomfortable, emotional and often life altering experience.
Many lines of work in Minnesota are historically dominated by men and have only in recent years come to grips with the problem of sex discrimination. Unfortunately, as these jobs have slowly opened up to female workers, these pioneering women employees have often faced another problem related to discrimination, sexual harassment.
Residents of Minnesota may be aware of numerous labor laws that protect them from discrimination in the workplace. Recently, an ex-employee of the Oprah Winfrey Network filed suit against the network, claiming disability discrimination. The plaintiff claims that she received favorable feedback for her work while employed by OWN, and that she was on the road to becoming a vice president, until she became pregnant and was compelled to take a medical leave.
A federal jury has awarded a demoted Minneapolis firefighter $420,000 and yet-to-be-determined attorneys' fees for a 2009 demotion from the position of deputy chief by the fire chief at the time of her employment. The jury agreed that she was wrongly demoted because of employment discrimination. The demoted employee argued that the chief's actions had resulted in emotional distress and that she lost many thousands of dollars due to decreased salary and benefits.
Most of our readers know that discrimination of any kind in an employment setting is wrong. With that in mind, it is interesting to see that three female managers have filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract, age discrimination and sex discrimination against the management of the El Paso Company that acquired the Bank of the Rio Grande. The women claim they were wrongfully terminated and that the bank's CEO said he was pressured to fire them by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Bartenders at Hilton Minneapolis claimed their female supervisor made unwelcome sexual advances and demanded sexual favors for hotel customers. The supervisor allegedly retaliated against them when they refused.