Workplace Sexual Harassment

Every day there are new stories of Hollywood heavyweights, titans of media, and politicians accused of sexual harassment. Lately, these allegations are quickly followed by some sort or admission of guilt and a resignation or firing. What started with Harvey Weinstein has snowballed, as big shots fall left and right, including Bill O’Reilly (Fox News), actor Kevin Spacey, Michael Oreskes (NPR), Senator Al Sharpton, Senator would-be Roy Moore, Charlie Rose (NBC/PBS), and Matt Lauer (NBC).

What is making headlines now has been an open secret for years in political back rooms and media press rooms. Thankfully, that time has passed. Those who’ve been subjected to such behavior are now coming forward, speaking out, and confronting the rich and powerful men who held sway for decades.

Sexual harassment, like sexual abuse, is often about power and authority, not sex. It involves someone using power and authority to victimize subordinates or those hoping for a job or career advancement. The perpetrators often get away with their behavior because their victims fear that reporting the misdeeds or speaking publicly would harm their careers, either in their current job or future prospects.

This could be a turning point. As the revelations continue, awareness grows, and we may see real change in what we will tolerate as a society. The pendulum of opinion will likely swing a few times – with backlash and weariness expected – but once it finally comes to rest, we believe public attitudes will have shifted, and for the better.

As sexual abuse attorneys who have represented survivors for years, we can help in this process. We have a dedicated section of our website to this important and evolving issue. If you have been subject to sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace and have questions about your options, call us.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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