Sexual Harassment
August 24, 2020
Have workplaces become less tolerant of inappropriate behavior?

Criminal verdicts in high-profile sexual assault cases against entertainer Bill Cosby and movie producer Harvey Weinstein are helping the broader public understand the decisions women might make when someone in a position of power is sexually harassing them. According to victims’ advocates, those convictions could affect future sexual harassment cases by showing that the fear of financial retribution often prevents survivors from behaving as juries might expect. Revelations brought forth by the #MeToo movement also have increased the public’s understanding of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace. Meanwhile, the federal government and state legislatures are taking steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment, while employers are seeking ways to better educate workers on how to prevent and report such conduct.

Supporters of U.S. Army Pfc. Vanessa Guillén protesting, calling on Congress to pass the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill. Relatives, friends and supporters of U.S. Army Pfc. Vanessa Guillén called on Congress in July to pass the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill to allow servicemembers to report sexual harassment to an independent agency. Guillén, who told her family she had been harassed by a fellow soldier, went missing in April. Her remains were found on June 30. Army Spc. Aaron David Robinson killed himself on July 1 as police were about to arrest him for Guillén’s murder. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

Initially, Brittany Hoyos, 16, did not tell her parents about the inappropriate behavior of her manager at the Tucson, Ariz., McDonald’s, where she worked after school in 2016. Instead, she rebuffed his advances, which included touching her hair, texting her about her appearance, brushing up against her and trying to kiss her.

“I just thought that it was something you would have to put up with,” she told The New York Times. 1