The workplace needs to be one of the most secure environments individuals interact with. The reason is that unlike a public park or street we are not free to come and go as we please. The workplace for most Americans confines us to a limited area for a certain amount of time and we are obligated to be there. It is for this reason that a hostile environment that is filled with any form of harassment must never be allowed to flourish. It is this sanctity that led a jury to award Ashley Alford $95,000,000 in what has become one of the largest sexual harassment cases the United States has seen.
As American’s most of us enjoy a work environment that is free from sexual advances from our bosses or inappropriate comments but not every work environment lives up to this standard. In fact some business travel down a very dark road filled with denial and turning a blind eye. It is this attitude and mentality that is the most threatening to American prosperity. It is a problem that cannot be tolerated now or ever for it will directly affect our financial future and moral paradigm.
If we take a look at the actions that were allowed to take place we can quickly see the immense impact of allowing such behavior to continue elsewhere and why it must be stamped out. Ms. Alford was given a job working for Aaron’s, a rent-to-own retailer, and while it may not be anyone’s dream job she enjoyed working for the company. The trouble started after she had been working there a while when her boss would make lewd comments to her. Ms.Alford was offended by such comments and found them repulsive but was unable to stop the advances. She found herself in a difficult and terrible situation where she could not see an exit. Her boss held her livelihood in his hands and would not stop the sexual advances towards her and company officials were not there to help. The situation became much worse when her boss turned his comments into acts and walked up behind her and while she was sitting placed his penis on her head. However this was only a prelude to when he would eventually hold her down against her will, lift up her blouse and proceed to pleasure himself over her.
Eventually Ms.Alford reported the incidents to a hotline but received no reply or relief. In fact what she got was almost as harsh and as cold hearted as the victimization she had been faced with her boss; she was denied opportunities to advance.
This behavior is unacceptable on every level and in every way. Employees cannot freely leave a situation that has become hostile or dangerous, least they risk losing their livelihood. When a company refuses to offer recourse for such dangers a great travesty is posed, “Is this suffering worth more than losing my shelter, food and transportation?” These are questions no one should ask and protecting the safety of our workplace is protecting the safety of our economy.
A full article can be found here: Jury awards $95 million in Fairview Heights sex harassment suit
Our law firm does not represent anybody in this incident. The commentary is for educational purposes only. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a hostile work environment and would like to speak to someone about your rights, contact our lawyers for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.