Bill Cosby’s Release from Prison Brings Up Important Points About Sexual Harassment
Bill Cosby, 83, was released from prison on Wednesday. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that the district attorney who prosecuted Cosby was bound by his predecessor’s promise not to bring charges against former actor and comedian. Cosby, who had been accused by around 60 women of various types of sexual misconduct, served three years of his 3-10 year prison sentence for the drugging and violating of Andrea Constand in 2004.
Many of the other accusations against Cosby are alleged to have occurred during work-related events, such as auditions or in the green room before television interviews. When such behavior occurs in a work-related setting or between people who work together, the behavior could potentially constitute sexual harassment as well as criminal sexual misconduct. Under federal law, sexual harassment is a form of workplace discrimination, and it is actionable in civil court, even if the behavior is not technically a “crime.”
Illinois Law Prohibits Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment in the workplace is strictly forbidden by the Illinois Human Rights Act as well as federal legislation. All state agencies are required to have a written policy prohibiting sexual harassment, and all employers are required to take action when legitimate claims of sexual harassment are filed. All employers must post notice, in the workplace, of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibitions on sexual harassment, as well as in their employee handbook.
Victims of sexual harassment can be male or female, and the harasser can be any gender as well. Even when the harasser believes their behavior is funny or not serious, the victim of sexual harassment can feel shame and humiliation. The harasser may be a supervisor, or a co-worker; sexual harassment does not respect hierarchical boundaries.
Know Your Rights
You do not have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. Immediately document and report sexual harassment to your employer. If your employer fails to take action – or if you experience further discrimination in the form of retaliatory action due to reporting the harassment – you can file a claim through the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
The sooner you take action, the more likely you are to have a successful case. In addition to statutes of limitation, witnesses may forget the facts and documentation may be lost as time goes on. A skilled sexual harassment attorney can help you navigate through this process with compassion and expertise, and will act aggressively on your behalf.
Speak With an Illinois Discrimination Attorney
If you are the victim of sexual harassment at work, you should feel empowered to take action. With the help of a Wheaton, IL sexual harassment lawyer, you can stop the mistreatment and assert your rights. The attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick, & Mirabella, LLC, will help you learn your rights under Illinois law and plan the best course of action. Call us today at 630-665-7300 to schedule an initial consultation.