Several years have passed since the #metoo movement — when celebrities sought to bring the reality of workplace sexual harassment and abuse to the public eye. Like many in North Carolina, you may not have needed more awareness, especially if you have been a victim to an abuser on the job. Nevertheless, the voices of the movement hoped to bring about changes that would empower victims of sexual harassment to name their abusers and claim the protections the law offers.
While this may have worked well for Hollywood, costing the careers of numerous giants in the industry, you may still be struggling with harassment on the job. You may also feel helpless to do anything about it until the changes in the laws the #metoo movement have called for actually come to pass.
Rights and protections you wish you had
Too many existing laws still protect those in power, and power is often the driving force behind sexual harassment and abuse on the job. The gaps in the laws allow those in power to maintain control, and this often includes the victimization of workers, especially women and minorities. You may be among those who are watching to see how lawmakers react to pressure from activists who want to close those gaps in the laws in the following and other ways:
- Laws should protect a wider range of employees, including gig workers and those who work in jobs with fewer than 15 employees.
- Laws should prohibit more types of harassing behavior, including widening the definition of what the law considers “severe.”
- Victims of harassment and sexual abuse on the job should be eligible for larger amounts of compensation with no caps.
- The statute of limitations for filing complaints against harassers should be longer.
- Employment contracts should no longer include clauses requiring workers to resolve harassment complaints through mandatory arbitration, which typically favors employers.
- Settlements from harassment and sexual abuse claims should no longer include non-disclosure agreements that protect abusers from public scrutiny.
Some states have already taken steps toward meeting these goals. While not every state has enacted all of these changes in the laws, all states do have a statute of limitations for those who wish to take legal action against their abusers. For you, this may mean time is of the essence if you intend to stand up for your rights related to sexual harassment on the job.