Sexual harassment in the workplace is nothing new. So why has it erupted into such a significant issue in recent weeks? In the view of some observers, it's a matter of evolution.
There are a lot of issues in the political pot in Washington these days. Some are legitimate. Some have been created by presidential tweet. Some observers suggest that the Twitter energy expended by the current resident of the White House is little more than a "dead cat" strategy. The idea being that the more ingredients he can throw into the stew, real or not, the less focus there can be on things that might disrupt the administration's agenda.
The U.S. House recently passed a new bill aimed at responding to discrimination in the federal government workplace. The Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2017 cleared the lower chamber on a unanimous voice vote.
The key to giving a good presentation we know is to tell your listeners what you will tell them; tell them; and then tell them what you told them. Aristotle is credited with developing that formula two millennia ago, though his phrasing was different. The standard still seems to apply, and some observers might say that it has leaked into other areas, including the passing of laws.
Transgender workers in the District of Columbia are protected from employment discrimination, but workers in other states and cities, such as Texas and Atlanta, may be vulnerable. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission still considers discrimination against transgender people to be illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that forbids sex-based discrimination. However, its position might shift.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gives employees a variety of rights and protections against discrimination. Under the act, government agencies and employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating based on someone's race, color, sex, religion or national origin. This prohibition extends to all aspects of employment, which includes hiring, promotions, terminations and determining rates of compensation. Additionally, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employers with more than 20 employees from discriminating against individuals over the age of 40.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, workplace discrimination complaints rose in 2016, and the complaints pertaining to a worker's disability seem to be increasing. More than 30 percent of the charges in that yearwere related to disability discrimination, even though disabled persons make up only about 20 percent of the population and a smaller percentage of the workforce, both in private industry and in federal government.
According to the Washington Post, years of private studies have demonstrated that, while Congress itself is becoming more diverse in response to citizen activism, their staff is not. Workers in congressional offices, from chiefs of staff and top advisors to aides, pages and administrative personnel, continue to be overwhelmingly white.
She may be a lone voice, but she is not alone in her claims of sexual harassment and discrimination at the hands of former male supervisors at the Transportation Security Administration. The question a woman now faces in staking a claim to a federal job she says she has a right to is what legal lengths to take to achieve her mission.