Years of sexual misconduct allegations were recently reported against movie producer Harvey Weinstein who was fired from his company. This follows allegations of sexual misconduct against Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, once powerful men at Fox News who also were ousted.

It is estimated that one in three women have been sexually harassed and 71 percent do not report it.  It is not hard to understand why. In many cases the harasser is in a position of power over the victim. Many victims, most often women, fear they will be blamed or that nothing will be done.  They are also afraid of retaliation, including losing their job.

Sadly many companies may be aware of the misconduct, but only act when the harassment becomes public, which is to me inexcusable.  As with many women in business, I have been in situations that have been uncomfortable and somehow found a way to send a message that it would not be tolerated, but that is not easy.

As victims of sexual harassment and abuse come forward and more perpetrators face consequences, we should feel empowered to speak out and stand up against it. If you need help, contact the national sexual assault hotline at 1-800-656 HOPE.

Facts About Sexual Harassment from Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances...

  • 1

    The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex

    .

  • 2

    The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.

  • 3

    The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

  • 4

    Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

  • 5

    The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

    It is important for the victim to inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.

    Employers should take necessary steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can provide sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective  grievance proces,s and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.