When people think of sexual harassment, images of a staid workplace in which men rule come to mind, but sexual harassment is not only an issue within the scope of employment. Issues of sexual harassment have come to light in recent years especially in organizations like the military and universities, but people—most often women—can also fall prey to sexual harassers in public places as well. One of these places that has most recently come to the fore is on public transportation. Last year, Chicago-area women called for ad campaigns to raise awareness of sexual harassment cases on public CTA trains. While being sexual harassed is definitely uncomfortable … But is it illegal?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment under Title VII as applicable only in job places in which the employer employees 15 or more people. This can also include employment agencies, labor organizations, and federal, state, and local governments. Much has been written and said about the daily grind of many women’s’ commutes that include ubiquitous sexual harassment on public transit, though there are not yet laws in place, in Chicagoland or any other U.S. city, that expressly forbid and prohibit sexual harassment on public trains.
Such programs have, however, been rolled out in Great Britain and called for in France. Perhaps one reason that such laws have not been enacted in developed nations at this juncture is because the abuse is so commonplace that even women themselves have difficulty identifying it. When asked if they have been sexually harassed, many women will respond negatively; the same women respond positively when asked if they have been groped or pressed against in an unwanted manner.
If you suspect that sexual harassment may be taking place within your company, or you have been accused of allowing such behavior to continue, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced Schaumburg employment law attorney today. At The Miller Law Firm, P.C., we are committed to helping employers and business owners dealing with any type of employee-related concerns. Call 847-995-1205 to schedule your free consultation with Attorney Richard J. Miller.