Often when you are dealing with employment issues, you're looking at companies with all the bargaining power taking advantage of or punishing underpaid workers who don't have many options. That's not always the case, though: even highly paid, sophisticated professionals can find themselves victims of an unscrupulous company or boss.
Even lawyers, who many people might assume are immune to bad corporate behavior, can end up in the same boat as other employees as victims of sexual harassment, retaliation, and other illegal conduct.
For example, the top U.S. lawyer for a large IT outsourcing company just revealed through a lawsuit that she had been sexually harassed by her supervisor, the company's global head of its legal department. Despite having a successful twenty years in the legal profession, a prestigious position, and even a seat on the company's anti-harassment committee, the female attorney was “treated as a piece of meat,” according to her attorney.
The lawsuit explains that the lawyer's boss asked her to take him to a strip club, insisted that the lawyer come back to his hotel with him, and proposed they have an affair. He didn't stop there – he forced a kiss and other unwanted sexual contact on her. To top it off, her supervisor suggested that a promotion the lawyer had been promised was contingent on her coming to his hotel room and, impliedly, consenting to his sexual demands.
Like many employees, the lawyer had no real way to deal with the harassment. Her boss was good buddies with the CEO, and the lawyer knew that other harassment claims had been swept under the rug.
After her supervisor began retaliating against her, first by denying her the promised promotion and then by taking projects away from her and undermining and reversing her decisions, the lawyer realized the only option she had was to resign – and, now, file a lawsuit.
The unfortunate lesson from this lawyer's situation is that sexual harassment is still far too common in the workplace and that employees, no matter their level or experience, too often have no real recourse within their companies. That is where attorneys like Aegis Law Firm come in. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, we may be able to help.