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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysToday, it is not unusual to see stories about sexual harassment or sexual misconduct on the front page of newspapers—or, perhaps more accurately, internet news feeds. This has not always been the case. For many years, sexual harassment was largely a taboo topic. Countless victims suffered in silence while the perpetrators and their employers were never held responsible for their actions.

While the modern-day discussion of sexual harassment was prompted, to a large extent, by the allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein and the resulting #MeToo movement, many historians suggest that specific allegations made almost 30 years ago were instrumental in creating awareness of sexual harassment for the first time in the United States.

Sex Talk on Television

In 1991, a former U.S. Department of Education staffer testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee regarding how she had been treated by her former boss. The woman’s name was Anita Hill, and her boss was a Supreme Court nominee and federal judge Clarence Thomas. Ms. Hill worked as attorney-adviser to Thomas when he was the Assistant Secretary of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights beginning in 1981. Thomas was named chairman of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1982, and Hill went with him as an assistant. She would leave that job in 1983.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIn recent years, sexual harassment and other types of sexual misconduct have taken center stage in the American public’s consciousness. A number of high-profile Hollywood personalities, comedians, politicians, and other figures have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and more.

Sexual harassment, however, is not limited to celebrities. In fact, it is probably taking place at a bar or restaurant near you—possibly even your own workplace.

A Dangerous Profession

According to various studies, bartenders are extremely vulnerable to non-fatal, on-the-job violence—the third-most of any profession. Only law enforcement officers and those who work in security-related jobs are more at risk. Unfortunately, a large portion of such violence is linked to sexual harassment.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIf you were to Google the phrase “sexual harassment,” the search engine will bring up more than 100 million results. This is probably not much of a surprise, considering the way that sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and sexual harassment have taken center stage in the public consciousness over the last year or so. Since last fall, dozens, if not hundreds, of influential individuals—most of them men—have been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct. Some are facing criminal charges while others have had their careers essentially destroyed.

While the resulting #MeToo movement has given victims of sexual misconduct the platform and the confidence to come forward with their stories, there have been unintended consequences as well. One of these is confusion among the general public about what sexual harassment is and when it is considered to be illegal.

Sexual Harassment is an Employment Issue

If you have been cat-called while walking down the street or continually asked out on a date by your neighbor, you may be the victim of harassment of a sexual nature. According to the law, however, you have not been sexually harassed. In fact, sexual harassment is not a criminal offense in Illinois. Harassment is a crime, as are intimidation, stalking, threatening, and similar behaviors, but they are crimes regardless of whether they include a sexual component.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree