The late 20th and early 21st centuries have seen many changes in American society. While technology has increased at a seemingly exponential rate, changes in social norms and beliefs have also occurred. Although these social reforms have come more slowly, it is clear that progress has been made on many fronts in the fight for equality for all people. Unfortunately, problems still exist and, when they occur, they can cause great harm to those involved.
While the equality of women in the workplace has advanced, the issues of discrimination and harassment have not gone away. While it is important to note that the laws regarding sexual harassment apply to both men and women, it is traditionally women who have faced the brunt of such behavior. This is because men have long been the ones in the positions of power in the world of American business and, many times, sexual harassment is used as a way of wielding or exploiting that power. Anyone familiar with the television series "Mad Men" can attest to the fact that, not so long ago, sexual jokes, comments and other demeaning behavior was perfectly acceptable in companies large and small.
Unfortunately, there is still a subset of employers and co-workers who think that it is perfectly reasonable to subject others in a professional setting to comments, stares and even touches that are offensive, humiliating or intimidating. Luckily, contemporary legal structures do provide some recourse. As we have touched on before, it is illegal under both federal and Oklahoma law for an employer to make hiring or advancement contingent on any kind of sexual behavior, as well as retaliating against employees who don't go along with or those who report harassment by anyone in the organization, whether boss or co-worker.
However, as we have also noted in the past, dealing with the governmental entities that investigate and determine the validity of many of these claims can be daunting. Further, there are steps that often need to be taken before litigation can be filed. That is why those who face sexual harassment may want to consult an experienced Oklahoma employment law attorney. If you have questions about sexual harassment or any other employment-based claim, you are invited to view our web page for more information.