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DuPage County sexual harassment attorney

Concerns about COVID-19 have resulted in countless employees working from home. At first glance, it may seem as if remote workers are immune to sexual harassment. After all, if you are not in the office, how could you become a victim of sexual harassment? Unfortunately, many employees are still being subjected to unlawful discrimination and harassment even while working from home. If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of these unlawful acts, it is critical that you seek the guidance of a skilled attorney to protect your rights. 

Email or Text Messages May Contribute to a Hostile Work Environment

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when gender or sex-based remarks or behaviors are severe or pervasive enough to devalue working conditions and generate an abusive working environment. When most people think about sexual harassment, they assume that the abuse involves in-person remarks and behaviors. However, virtual interactions can constitute sexual harassment as well. In fact, it is often easier for a person to make inappropriate or demeaning comments to another individual online than it would be in person. Text messages, emails, and programs like Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom are all avenues that may be used to communicate virtually and harass an employee. Remarks made via video and audio conferencing as well as sexually explicit pictures and videos sent over the Internet may also contribute to a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment may occur between supervisors and employees working from home if the supervisor attempts to gain sexual favors in exchange for work benefits.   

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Wheaton sexual harassment attorneysWhen most people think about workplace sexual harassment, they assume that the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is a male in a higher-ranking position. Although this situation does describe a great number of sexual harassment cases, this is not the only type of sexual harassment that exists. Men can also be victims of sexual harassment at the hands of both women and other men.

In one survey, 10 percent of male respondents reported having been sexually harassed at work. Furthermore, almost one out of every five sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are filed by men. Although men and women receive equal protection under the law against workplace sexual harassment, male sexual harassment victims often face different obstacles than female victims do.

Men May Hesitate to Report Sexual Harassment Due to Fears About Being Taken Seriously

In the movie “Horrible Bosses,” Jennifer Aniston plays an aggressive and exceedingly sexually-forward dentist. Throughout the movie, she repeatedly attempts to convince her male dental hygienist to have sexual relations with her—even going so far as grabbing the hygienist’s genitals against his will in one scene and locking him in a room with her in another scene. Although this comedy received positive reviews, many people have suggested that the audience would not have reacted the same way to this harassing behavior if the perpetrator was the male character and the female was the victim.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysFew would disagree that the #MeToo movement has changed the way most people think of workplace sexual harassment in the United States. The movement began in October 2017 when social media users started using the hashtag “Me Too,” to signify that they had been a victim of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or other wrongdoing. The social media phenomenon came on the heels of sexual harassment allegations against several high-profile celebrities including film producer Harvey Weinstein. It is impossible to know exactly how much success this movement has had in reducing workplace sexual harassment, but a recent study has offered some interesting new information.

Women Polled About Sexual Harassment Show Changing Work Landscape

Researchers from the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business polled women in 2016 and then again in 2018 regarding sexual harassment at their workplaces. The survey shows that while sexual harassment is declining in some ways, that there are still issues surrounding inappropriate comments towards women at work.

Many of the women surveyed reported that certain types of harassing behavior such as staring, leering, and other unwanted sexual attention is less of an issue now than it was two years ago. Nearly 70 percent of women said that they were the subject of unsolicited sexual attention at work in 2016, but only a quarter of respondents said that they dealt with unwanted sexual attention at work in 2018. In 2016, 25 percent of women reported being the victim of sexual coercion while this number dropped to 16 percent in 2018.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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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