Sexual Harassment

Individuals have a right to a workplace environment free of sexual harassment. A man or a woman may be subjected to sexual harassment. Additionally, a perpetrator of sexual harassment may be a man or a woman. Notably, the victim and harasser can be of the same sex.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.  Harassment can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex (i.e. it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general). Harassment is illegal when it is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment action (i.e. the victim being fired, demoted, or the victim quitting because of the harassment). To be actionable, the harasser must be an individual who is capable of taking tangible employment actions against the victim.

To learn more about sexual harassment in the workplace, we recommend the following documentaries and ted talks. For self care books and other resources, click here.

Documentaries/Movies

Untouchable (2019) – available on Hulu – focuses on the sexual abuse allegations involving Harvey Weinstein and includes interviews with many of his accusers. In October 2017, the New Yorker reported that dozens of women accused Harvey Weinstein, an American film producer, of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years. The accusations against Weinstein are seen as the beginning of the #MeToo movement and TimesUp.

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (2014) reveals the story of a woman who has empowered millions to stand up for equality and justice. An entire country watched as a poised, beautiful African-American woman sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men and with a clear, unwavering voice recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill’s graphic testimony was a turning point for gender equality in the U.S. and ignited a political firestorm about sexual misconduct and power in the workplace that still resonates today.

Bombshell (2019) tells the story of the women at Fox News who revealed CEO Roger Ailes’ tenancy for sexual harassment. The movie is based on true events, although the director did take creative license. For example, one of the characters, Kayla, is entirely fictional. You can watch the trailer here.

Ted Talks

Gretchen Carlson: How we end sexual harassment at work

Trigger Warning: Mentions of sexual assault, sexual harassment

When Gretchen Carlson spoke out about her experience of workplace sexual harassment, it inspired women everywhere to take their power back and tell the world what happened to them. In a remarkable, fierce talk, she tells her story — and identifies three specific things we can all do to create safer places to work. “We will no longer be underestimated, intimidated or set back,” Carlson says. “We will stand up and speak up and have our voices heard. We will be the women we were meant to be.”