Workers in Tennessee who have experienced workplace discrimination might find the allegations about widespread sexual harassment at Microsoft Corporation familiar. An email chain that circulated among Microsoft employees has detailed multiple complaints about mistreatment and dismissal of women's complaints. Over 90 pages of email messages have become public, and senior leadership at the company plans to investigate the problems.
Rumors about the sexual activities of people at the workplace can be grounds for harassment or discrimination lawsuits. According to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, an employer can be liable for sex discrimination claims by not stopping false rumors about an employee sleeping with a person in management. If this precedent is not reversed by the Supreme Court, it will continue to impact companies in Tennessee and all other states.
A plurality of people in Georgia and throughout the country believe that sexual harassment is a problem in the workplace. However, men are less likely to believe that it is a problem today compared to 2017 according to a February 2019 Gallup poll. Nationally, 62 percent of all respondents said that it was a major problem, but when broken down by gender, women were more likely than men to have that opinion.
In Tennessee, restaurant employees are eligible to file sexual harassment lawsuits if they experience harassment on the job. Statistics show that managers, other employees and customers sexually harass 70 percent of male workers and 90 percent of female workers. Countless incidents occur in which customers sexually harass restaurant employees, but workers do not report these incidents because they rely on tips. Recent newspaper headlines have reported McDonald's worker strikes taking place in 10 cities.
People in Tennessee pursuing a career in medicine might be most vulnerable to harassment at work during their training in academic settings. A study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine identified academic medicine as an environment where sexual harassment occurred nearly twice as often compared to workplaces for other engineering and science sectors.
Sexual harassment in the workplace has taken a prominent position in the news stories of Tennessee and the rest of the country. Former CEO of the CBS Corporation Les Moonves was denied an exit payment of $120 million after the company determined he had been misleading regarding sexual misconduct allegations. Employers have an obligation to deal with discrimination in the workplace and to ensure employees are provided a safe place to work. In addition, employees should not be afraid to stand up for themselves and assert their rights.
The #MeToo movement has drawn increasing attention to the problem of workplace sexual harassment in Nashville and across the country. The entertainment industry, from music to movies, has been a particularly significant target of the campaign as serious examples of sexual assault have been revealed in a number of reports, lawsuits and personal stories shared on social media. As a result, several large labor unions in the industry have come together to create a pledge against sexual harassment.
Television viewers in Tennessee and across the country have raised concerns about CBS' record on sexual harassment, and the company is responding as a result. After the former chairman and CEO of the network, Les Moonves, was fired from his position after a series of harassment complaints, the network has announced $20 million in gifts to organizations fighting discrimination against women in the workplace. The network said that the donations are meant to support the organizations' work and highlight the network's commitment to bolstering an anti-harassment culture in the workplace.
Workplace harassment that takes place in Tennessee and other states is likely to go unreported. If it does get reported, it may mean negative consequences for the person who did so. This was the takeaway from an analysis of harassment charges brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and similar state agencies from 2012 to 2016.
Anyone in the workplace, either employer or employee, would find it difficult to suggest they are not aware of sexual harassment. Many resources for training and education have been expended in this area. Yet the problem still exists. Whether it's unwelcome sexual advances or creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive work atmosphere, sexual harassment is all too common throughout Tennessee and the rest of the U.S.