If you are being sexually harassed at work, it is important to understand that you have legal protections in place to stop this type of misconduct and hold the perpetrator accountable. You should also understand that there may be more people liable for the harassment than the person engaging in it.
For instance, your employer can also be held accountable for allowing harassment or for failing to take the appropriate action against the harasser. This is crucial to recognize for a couple reasons, which have been illustrated by the case against Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News.
Wider accountability can ensure maximum compensation
Money may not repair all the damage done by harassment or truly compensate victims, but it is still very powerful in harassment claims. Unfortunately, even if the courts award a victim $1 million, it may simply be impossible for an individual to pay that amount.
On the other hand, if a company or employer is named in the lawsuit, then it is more likely that the victim or victims will receive a larger amount.
In the claims against Fox News and Ailes, for instance, the parent company 21st Century Fox has much deeper pockets. In fact, it has already paid $45 million to victims of Ailes’ harassment.
Employer recognition in a claim can address systemic problems
If a complaint involves only an individual, the assumption is that he or she is the only one who engaged in harassment. In these situations, remedies like firing that person should solve the problem. However, if the harassment extends beyond that one person, firing one person probably won’t solve the problem.
In the case involving Ailes, numerous claims have been filed against him and others, indicating the problem was pervasive. Considering how widespread the problem seems to be at Fox News, it would be ineffective to limit the complaints to one individual.
Holding all parties accountable for harassment crucial, but complicated
For these and other reasons, it is vital that claims involving sexual harassment in the workplace are filed against the appropriate party or parties. However, understand that cases can become far more complex when there are additional people or companies involved, so it is important to have the guidance and support of an experienced attorney.