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Know How to recognize Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment lawyers from all over the US agree, in order to stop sexual harassment you have to know what it is. Without being able to know and identify sexual harassment, stopping it is impossible.

Knowing what constitutes a case of sexual harassment is key to recognizing it when you see it. Sexual harassment can be physical advances that are unwanted and unrequested, asking for "sexual favors", and even comments that demean who they are as a person.

Many cases of sexual harassment within the United States include bosses offering a promotion or pay increase for a sexual favor. Some cases of sexual harassment have even been due to jokes that leave women as the butt of the joke, if it's sexually charged or not. That's due to the difference between men and women, our sexes. If a woman is joked about, it's because she is a woman, and that is sexual harassment.

Those jokes, comments, and sexual prods at the female employees create what is legally called a hostile work environment. Once a hostile work environment can be proved due to sexual harassment, there is a solid case for a cash settlement. That can have huge effects on the company, the employees, and the business as a whole.

There have been various reports released by the EEOC, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the vast majority of offenses have been events that were much more serious than simply breaking company policy. The law doesn't protect any person from isolated teasing or comments. Once the comments and teasing become regular and routine, the victim may feel harassed, and that is a hostile work environment.

The legal standard of sexual harassment stands like this: Courts use the reasonable individual ideal. The comments and harassment has to be so severe that any reasonable individual would show affects in and out of the work place. An employee that is constantly sexually harassed may have been getting treatment for depression, ulcers, anxiety, and a constant feeling of emotional stress that can't be relieved.

The major factors that the courts will take a close look at is the frequency of the harassment, the severity of the offenses, the embarrassment of each instance of harassment, if it's threatening to the physical safety of the employee, and whether or not the conduct actually effects the work performance of the employee. If all of these factors are met, or even the majority of them, the courts could decide to move forward with charges.

One of the best ways to avoid this is by having employees and supervisors take sexual harassment training. When compared to the cost of a sexual harassment case, sexual harassment classes will be a mere drop in the bucket of yearly expenses. The classes per person are low-cost and very effective, especially when done online. That option gives the enrollee the opportunity to learn comfortably in their home. Requiring your employees to take training will prevent harassment through knowledge. As I said before, the number one way to stop sexual harassment is to know what it is and how to identify it. 

American Muslim Sues a Connecticut University for Sexual Harassment

New Haven, Connecticut is a mild-mannered town for a larger city, but that doesn't keep the area from experiencing sexual harassment. The unusual part about this case is the many aspects. The University of Bridgeport didn't investigate the matter. They decided to retaliate against the victim and accuser.

Balayla Ahmed finally took action last week after living with the knowledge of being sexually harassed for several months during 2009. Bridgeport University is being accused of what the FBI refers to as a false claim. The school decided not to investigate Ahmed's claims of sexual harassment, but instead took action with the FBI. The school reported her a terrorist! Those who investigate domestic terrorism don’t take those reports lightly, and making a false claim can be a felony.

Ahmed and her lawyers claim that the school showed an obvious one-sided view that leaned heavily toward her male attacker. FBI agents also accuse the school of spreading false and harmful rumors that could have led to her arrest. She was then released by the school and made unemployed.

Many familiar with the case believe that the school’s actions were deeply influenced by Ahmed’s open religious views. Ahmed often wore the traditional women's Muslim head covering, called a hijab. Some want an outside investigation to school officials, and her sexual harasser’s, negligent, uncaring, and disrespectful actions.

Ahmed's lawyer, Brad Conover, blames the schools and student’s closed-minded beliefs for their gross mistreatment of her. He also claims that the threats of an FBI investigation made her so scared that she was unable to bring herself to leave her apartment.

Now that the school has fired her, she is unable to chase her dream job and tormented by the unnecessary profiling and targeting. All due to another’s sexual harassment of her and her religious beliefs. The root of this case, the male student who committed the sexual harassment, is getting off easy by not being named in the lawsuit. While, what he did was illegal, what the school did was negligent and irresponsible for a professional academic institution.

The end result of the FBI threats landed two agents knocking on her door. They questioned her at home and left her quietly. The only thing they left behind was their business cards. Ahmed, and the FBI, learned that her harasser had created a story that made her a terrorist, and then reported it to the school. The FBI believes it was in retaliation to her claims of sexual harassment.

The school could have stopped all of this before it got this far. The school should have looked passed what they saw with their closed minds and investigated the claim. If that had been done, they would have kicked out the sexual harassment offender, not the victim.

Instead, the school took prejudice and made false claims to the FBI without any background checks into the accused. If the school instated a policy of sexual harassment training and racial/religious profiling courses, this entire situation could have been solved almost immediately, or even avoided!


New Charges of Sexual Harassment Against Head of Helsinki Committee

Last Wednesday members of the House Ethics Committee reviewed the details of a sexual harassment case. The big problem with this case is that the charge was against a member of the Helsinki committee, Alcee Hastings. Hastings is a one-time chairman of the Helsinki Committee, and currently the top Democrat on the committee. The committee, which he chaired, is supposed to ensure fundamental and civil rights for all agreeing countries.

Hastings has been a member of Congress for ten full-terms for the citizens of the Fort Lauderdale area of Southern Florida. The accusations were first heard from a staff member of the Ethic Committee, namely a female worker, Winsome Packer.

The cases filed against Hastings are currently being investigated. The Ethics Committee is taking a long look at an incident that occurred in a hotel lobby. He was witnessed and documented as throwing an angered fit about what his physical wants were with her.

Winsome Packer reported to the committee that she was told by Hasting that it wasn't a sport to him. The initial report filed by the committee states, Hasting then began to complain even more about how she didn't enjoy his company or actions. Another severe incident that has caught special attention is a drunken rant that the Congressman pulled. In a drunken state, Congressman Hastings is accused of committing sexual harassment when he kept asking Packer to come back to his room.

The report also shows several other instances where the Congressman gave Packer some very long and uncomfortable hugs. In one incident in particular, Hastings was seen in Vienna giving Packer a hug and pressing his face against her.

Hastings has come forward to defend himself. In many cases, the best thing to do is to not say a word. Hastings has stepped forward with a response to these allegations. He strongly believes the sexual harassment charges filed against him by Winsome Packer are being used as a tool. Packer is due to publish a book, and he believes that this act is meant to help promote that book.

Hastings strongly and openly denies any truth to the allegations pressed on him. He stated his character is too strong to commit such an act that could interfere with his on-going career.

The Ethics Committee’s investigation has broke open several sexual harassment cases in the past. Congressman Hastings and all but one member of his staff have agreed to fully cooperate with the ongoing inquiry.

In the past, cases of sexual harassment involving Congress were a rare event. In current days, it has turned into something that people simply scoff at, then move on like it’s an every day thing. It seems that the country and the Congress has become far too accustomed with the sexualization of our society. When that goes to far, people suffer, all people.

These events can be easily avoided by instituting regular sexual harassment training courses. Sexual harassment courses should be done every year, if not every six months. The cost of online classes can be quite affordable. That makes it easy for Congressmen and their staff members to pay for it out of their own pocket, not the taxpayers!


St. Louis Officers Accused of Sexually harassing a Fellow Officer

Sexual harassment lawsuits against an employee’s boss are common in the United States. Unfortunately, law enforcement hasn't been able to escape this commonality. The St. Louis PD is currently staring down a sexual harassment lawsuit, filed just before Christmas 2011. In the suit, St. Louis Officer Tanisha Ross-Paige accuses her supervisor, Steve Gori of sexual harassment. The suit also names the Board of Police Commissioners and has asked for a minimum of $25,000.

Many times, what one person can see as a joke, another can see as sexual harassment. Such could be the first example of sexual harassment reported by Tanisha. She received an email, as did her fellow employees, of a fake "Wanted" picture that depicted her and described her sexually. It went on to describe how to approach the "subject" in a very sexually oriented manner.

Another incident that the charges are naming, allege that Sgt. Gori asked Officer Ross-Paige to take a seat on his lap and remove her vest. He also, allegedly, repeatedly invited Officer Ross-Paige to his house to enjoy the hot tub, no swimsuit required.

The lawsuit is also claiming that she has been the victim of retaliation since speaking up about her harassment, which is also a federal crime. The charges claim that after she stood up for herself by filing an initial complaint in June, she began to receive the worst available assignments and shifts over and over again. Her reviews and evaluations were altered from the normal routine. Officer Ross-Paige also claims that she was even refused down time to train, which all the male officers of her unit were allowed to have.

The most outrageous event took place when her boss, Sgt. Gori, threatened taking her police dog, and even her job, if she didn't accept dating him. She is also accusing Gori of having another officer forge her name on a promotion waiver, which may very well cost her a better position and higher pay.

While the investigation goes forward, Officer Tanisha Ross-Paige has remained on the canine unit, but now reports to a different shift supervisor. When the inquiry ends, she may be re-assigned to the former boss that sexually harassed her. That will depend on the final outcome of the investigation, if it goes to trial, and what the final repercussions will be if the department settles out of court.

Tanisha Ross-Paige joined the canine unit after a lifetime of dreaming to be a police officer. She has been married for years and has said she simply wants this type of thing to stop. Sexual harassment should never be acceptable in the law enforcement field. If the police officers aren’t able to trust one another, how can we trust them?

Many of the cases involving sexual harassment in government agencies, local or not, could have been avoided. Sexual harassment can be prevented, or dealt with properly, by taking beginner and advanced sexual harassment courses.

These classes can be done online and in the comfort of the home. That makes it possible to learn and absorb as much as possible, making the classes more than worth it. The classes will also pay for themselves due to the amount of money that can be saved from avoiding lawsuits through sexual harassment prevention.


Department of Defense improves sexual harassment policies in face of growing reports

The DoD has released its most important findings for the 2010-2011 Academic Year with the Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at Military Academies; this report includes the results from the Service Academy Gender Relations Focus Groups.

The DoD reports that reducing sexual harassment cases on land, in air, or on the sea, is one of the department’s main priorities. Another main focus of the DoD is to provide excellent support for the victims of the cases that have occurred. That is the focus of the of the new Department of Defense policies, one which allows for quicker transfers. That means, if a victim of sexual harassment wants to be transferred from the site or military installation at which the crime was committed they can file an unrestricted report and be moved from their current base or school almost immediately.

Under the new policy, the service member that has been sexually harassed must receive an answer to their transfer request within 72-hours of the original request. Also, if the request is denied, the victim has the right to receive a review from the general, or flag, officer within another 72-hours.

The second policy that the DoD is now implementing will regulate the retentions times for sexual assault records across all branches of the military. The records for all sexual harassment records will be held by the military for a total of 50 years. In restricted cases, that number drops to only 5 years, the DoD claims these new policies will give victims as much access to their sexual harassment documents as necessary to bring a resolution to any case that occurs.

The 2010-2011 academic year brought a higher number of sexual harassment cases than the previous year. In the previous year, there were 41 reports of sexual harassment and assault. In the 2010-11 school year, the DoD reported 65 cases filed by military academies and the attending cadets. That increase signals a growing problem that can’t be ignored. The increase may not seem large, but in reality, it increased by nearly a third.

In most cases, the military academies under review are meeting or going beyond the current DoD requirements. For example, West Point has made the superintendent the chair of the Sexual Harassment Review Board. This was done to make sure that all cases are given the utmost attention and provide the highest level of prevention possible to protect students and faculty. 

One required improvement that the DoD is pushing, is for all academies is to establish a process of evaluation and metrics systems to assess their own sexual harassment and assault prevention programs. Based on those evaluations, individual academies must change to improve their programs ability to inform and prevent sexual harassment. One of the best ways to ensure that the individual academies have the highest quality of prevention and information, the academies should share both successes and failures in their systems.

One of the best tools that the government could wield is the online sexual harassment class. Each student and faculty member taking these classes can affect the prevention of, recording, and even detention of offenders for the best positive outcome possible.