When people go to work, they expect that they will be treated with a certain amount of respect. While employers have great leeway in how they can treat employees, there are basic rights that all employees enjoy. One of these rights is the freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers cannot tolerate or participate in the sexual harassment of employees. If employers allow employees to suffer from sexual harassment in the workplace, these employers can be held liable under employment laws.
Recently, the United States Army has settled with one of its former military police trainees after claims of sexual harassment. In this case, a woman claimed that one of her co-workers sexually harassed her. More specifically, the woman claimed that the man — a sergeant and one of her supervisors — sent her sexually explicit text messages and pictures of himself. To make matters worse, the man’s wife was the woman’s direct supervisor who the trainee had to report the conduct to. When the soldier complained about the sexual harassment, she was terminated from her position.
Following her termination, the woman brought an employment lawsuit against the United States Army and the man who had sexually harassed her. Prior to the trial, the parties settled. As a result of the settlement, the woman will receive $820,000. This is one of the largest sexual harassment settlements in the United States Army’s history. Those connected with the case have claimed that this is the clearest case of sexual harassment in the workplace that they have ever seen.
When employers allow sexual harassment, employees suffered in a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment can result from a variety of simple behaviors. Workers in Michigan who suffer from sexual harassment may have the right to take legal action. People in the situation should understand their legal rights and how to exercise them.
Source: The New York Times, “Army pays woman $820,000 to settle sexual harassment case,” Feb. 10, 2016