Sexual Harassment & Women’s Issues

sexual At work or at your university

As a woman or man, you may find that you are being subjected to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or to a sexually hostile environment.  Inappropriate sexual behavior can occur throughout our lives, and can be committed by a family member, supervisor or co-worker.  You may report inappropriate behavior, and find that your complaints are not taken seriously and are ignored.  These situations can cause extreme emotional distress particularly because you need to go to work or school every day.  Sexual harassment can interfere with your career, your ability to make a living, and your family life. You may be subjected to lewd and offensive behavior or statements, uncomfortable demands for dates, assault, rape, molestation, inappropriate touching — the list goes on.

Fortunately, Massachusetts and the United States have strong anti-sexual harassment laws, including M.G.L c. 151B and Title VII, to protect you from such insults, and it is definitely worth contacting a lawyer to see what can be done. Remedies might include the negotiation of a severance package, filing a claim with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), and pursuing a criminal complaint.  You may have a case of constructive discharge if you were forced to resign to protect yourself from the harassment. When we meet to discuss your situation, it would be helpful for you to bring supporting documents.

I have worked as a woman lawyer on a wide range of women’s issues, including discrimination against women in private clubs, and drafting one of the earliest Massachusetts statutes prohibiting interference with women seeking abortions.  I vividly recall the discrimination I personally faced in getting a credit card, incidents of sexual harassment, and obstructions to competing on an equal playing field in collegiate sports. While there have been huge advances prohibiting discrimination against women in areas such as credit, employment, housing, education (Title IX), and sports, discrimination still exists.  I welcome your contacting me to discuss your concerns.

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