The news media often cover stories about sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, but the fact is that the majority of such cases go unnoticed by the public. Instead, they are resolved quietly with out-of-court settlements covered by non-disclosure agreements. Many, sadly, go unresolved. Others simply fly under the radar of the news media.
Recently, the publication EdSource decided to look into cases of sexual harassment and discrimination at the massive California State University system. The investigation turned up dozens of instances of non-management Cal State employees who had been disciplined for sexual harassment, racial discrimination and more between the years 2017 and 2021.
In many of the cases documented in the report, students and lower-level employees were the victims of the misconduct. Several cases involved improper sexual relationships between teaching faculty and students. In many of the cases, the offending workers received relatively light penalties. One professor was apparently forced to resign from one university in the system but was soon afterwards hired by another.
They know better
Sexual harassment has been a much-discussed topic on university campuses for many years, and particularly so since the “MeToo” movement began a few years ago. Other forms of discrimination similarly receive a lot of attention on university campuses. It is hard to imagine that the professors and other academics documented in EdSource’s report were simply unaware they were violating the law when they mistreated students and employees.
It’s sobering to think that, if university professors are still engaging in such misconduct, it’s hard to imagine that these problems will quickly fade away from the workplace.
Workers who have been discriminated against or sexually harassed at work can stand up for themselves and their fellow workers. Skilled employment law attorneys can help workers understand their rights.