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.
In Tennessee and throughout the country, much has been made about sexual harassment in the workplace and in society in general. Recently, Facebook has announced that it will no longer require workers to enter into arbitration in sexual harassment cases. The policy was criticized as a means of keeping victims quiet and preventing the public from knowing the true extent of the problem. The company also made changes to its relationship disclosure policy.
The health care industry possesses many traits that contribute to its high rate of sexual harassment among doctors and medical students. Medical schools and hospitals in Tennessee and around the country operate under hierarchical structures and tend to have male-dominated leaderships. Researchers have identified these characteristics as a breeding ground for sexual harassment. Surveys of female doctors show that as many as 70 percent of them have experienced harassment on the job. Sometimes half of female medical students have been sexually harassed before graduating.
A survey of 1,000 working adults conducted by a public relations company identified disparate views between executives and rank-and-file employees on the subject of sexual harassment. According to the research, companies in Tennessee likely have little awareness at the management level of sexual harassment. The survey indicated that almost 70 percent of business leaders "strongly agreed" that their organizations did not tolerate sexual harassment, but only a minority of workers agreed with that belief.
A former Google employee who was fired after complaining of sexual harassment has filed a lawsuit against the corporate giant. He is seeking $400,000 in damages. He said Google's human resources department told him they thought his claims were not valid because the man he accused of sexual harassment was not gay. After the company finalized its investigation into his claims, the man was fired. Tennessee residents who have experienced sexual harassment at work may be entitled to monetary damages.
Some people in Tennessee might be aware that the broadcasting industry has recently been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. However, media companies have been implicated in similar behavior in the past. A decade ago, Gawker and The New York Times reported on sexual harassment at Tribune Broadcasting. The company rewrote the employee handbook to excuse certain types of talk and jokes as not being harassment.