New Sexual Harassment Lawsuits Show California’s Evolving Stance
One of the most interesting things about the law is the fact that it is fluid. As society changes and evolves, so too must the laws that govern that society. Ideally, society should evolve to offer its citizens greater protection. There are few who need protection more than sexual harassment victims. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is all too common in California workplaces. The silver lining is that as sexual harassment increases, legislators respond with more targeted and effective sexual harassment laws. A few recent cases in California show the extent of these changes and provide encouragement for sexual harassment victims.
If you have experienced sexual harassment, consider getting in touch with a sexual harassment attorney in California. Choose Mary Alexander & Associates, and you can gain access to the legal resources and experience you need to pursue justice and compensation. Over the years, we have helped numerous sexual harassment victims in California, including those who have faced abuse and misconduct at their workplaces.
Inappropriate Music May Constitute Sexual Harassment
A new decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit confirms that inappropriate music played in the workplace may constitute sexual harassment, even if it is not targeted toward one specific employee. The decision stems from a Title VII claim made by the EEOC on behalf of warehouse workers in Reno, Nevada. These workers were constantly subjected to music that contained vulgar, derogatory names for women. The music also described sexual violence in graphic detail, making numerous workers – both male and female – uncomfortable.
As you might have guessed, the genre in question was rap. One of the key songs mentioned was “Stan” by Eminem, which contains lyrics that describe stuffing a pregnant woman in a trunk before driving the vehicle into a body of water and drowning her. On a broader note, the lawsuit highlighted the use of words like “ho,” “bitch,” and many other derogatory terms much worse. The argument was that if these words had been voiced by workers at the workplace, this would have created a hostile work environment and a clear case of sexual harassment.
Initially, the employer successfully argued that this music was intended to be purely “motivational” and that it should not be viewed as sexual harassment. At first, this argument was accepted by a judge in a federal district court who dismissed the case. However, the Ninth U.S. The Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco then revisited the case and overturned the decision. The appeals court found that the use of “gender-specific epithets” can “constitute harassment based on sex.” They also wrote:
“Although we have not before addressed the specific issue of music-as-harassment, this court and our sister circuits have recognized Title VII redress for other auditory offenses in the workplace and for derogatory conduct to which all employees are exposed.”
The takeaway is that if you are subjected to inappropriate, sexually explicit, or derogatory music at your workplace in California, you have every right to tell your employer to end this behavior. If they refuse and you face continued harassment of this nature, you may have the ability to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against your employer. You might also sue if you face retaliation for complaining about the music, such as being terminated, demoted, suspended, or reassigned.
Many critics have pointed out that rap music is not the only genre that contains lyrics that seem to objectify women. Some have highlighted songs like “Under My Thumb” by The Rolling Stones or “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke – both of which contain themes of misogyny or even sexual violence. It is also worth pointing out that under the Civil Rights Act, this ruling does not apply only to women who feel victimized by music in the workplace. Men may also file workplace harassment lawsuits if their employer plays music that objectifies men in a similar manner.
With all that said, it is an undeniable fact that rap music contains far more vulgar terms than any other genre. Because of this, it seems as though the majority of future lawsuits regarding inappropriate music will involve rap songs. Even though this lawsuit centered around a workplace in Nevada, it also applies to workplaces in California. Employers will now need to be very careful about what kind of music they play. Even accidentally choosing a playlist on Spotify or another streaming platform could inadvertently lead to sexually vulgar music playing.
LGBTQ+ Restaurant Not Immune from Sexual Harassment Lawsuits
A restaurant in Oakland is now facing numerous sexual harassment lawsuits after its owner faced a number of serious allegations. Although this owner identifies as a queer person of color, it seems clear that her protected class does not make her immune from sexual harassment lawsuits. This is an important lesson, as the Civil Rights Act protects everyone while also holding employers accountable regardless of their own identities. Sometimes, even the employers who claim to represent the most oppressed members of our society are guilty of the same crimes they apparently oppose.
Numerous employees have stated that they were subjected to inappropriate comments about their bodies and unwanted touching of their private areas. Even after they asked the employer to stop this behavior, the harassment continued. A total of 14 former employees at the restaurant have described it as a “toxic work environment.” Some also referred to it as “vulgar fine dining,” adding that they only endured it because they wanted to continue getting paid. When the paychecks started to bounce, they came forward with their shocking allegations.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Sexual Harassment Attorney in California?
If you have been searching for an experienced sexual harassment attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. With our assistance, you can strive for the best possible results. It is possible to pursue compensation for this misconduct, whether you have been fired, demoted, abused, or subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of sexual harassment. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.