The press and employment attorneys have significantly educated the American public about the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. Many adults have been subject to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance creating a frightening, hostile, degrading, or sexually abusive work environment. However, over the past few years, the general public has become aware not only of how unprofessional and unethical such practices are, but more importantly, how such conduct can lead to significant litigation costs and mass judgments for emotional distress.
Massachusetts employers and supervisors must not sexually harass their employees, either directly or indirectly. Where supervisor behavior has the purpose and effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance by creating a deterrent, hostile, degrading, and sexually abusive work environment, Massachusetts courts have classified such conduct as sexual harassment. Cardona v. Conn Car rental, 20 masses. L. Rep. 82 (2005). More specifically, under Massachusetts law, it is an illegal practice for an employer, as defined in mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B, §1 (5) , to sexually harass any employee. Moreover, sexual harassment is not limited to any verbal conduct of a sexual nature that is found to be unreasonably interfering with the employee's performance by creating a degrading or sexually abusive work environment can be sexual harassment by a mass general. Laws ch. 151B. Melnychenko v. 84 Lumber Co., 424 Mass. 285 (1997).
Under Massachusetts law, an employee is entitled to be free from unreasonable, significant, or serious interference with privacy, as set forth in GL c. 214, § 1B, ID. If a supervisor's abuse occurs at the defendant's place of business while he or she is in a supervisory position, sexually harassing behavior falls within the scope of employment for GL c. 214, § 1B. College-Town, Div. of Interco, Inc. v. Massachusetts Comm & 39; n against discrimination, 400 Mass. App. 156, 165-167, 508 NE2d 587 (1987).
As a result of the past, many companies have since instituted sexual harassment policies, which is why they should read all employees before starting employment. In addition, many companies have training programs for their adult workforce. The problem is that many companies work part-time teenagers who neither understand the consequences of sexual harassment nor participate in any of the training programs, read manuals, or discuss sexual harassment with their supervisors, who in many cases also teenagers. This is especially a problem for businesses that are typically located in a mall, such as fast food, retail, and amusement park companies.
In 2007, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), citing 16-19 years, "allegations filed and unexpected evidence indicate that discrimination is a teenager's problem." According to social work professor Susan Fineran, 35% of high school students surveyed claimed they had been subjected to sexual harassment at work, of which over 60% were teenage girls. According to a report in the magazine, Nation & # 39; s Restaurant News, over the past decade, restaurants alone have paid more than $ 7.3 million to fight a teen sexual harassment lawsuit.
What is the essence of all this? If corporate America wants to avoid costly lengthy litigation, it must do a much better job of educating part-time teenagers in the same way they do with their full-time workforce.