Recently, a reporter asked presidential candidate Donald Trump what he thought his daughter Ivanka should do if she were to be sexually harassed in the workplace. His response: “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”
Unfortunately, few employees have the financial resources to just pick up and leave a job when a harasser puts them in this difficult position. Job-hunting takes significant time and energy, and some employees may even be contractually barred from going to a competing company within a certain timeframe. Even if a harassed employee were to find another job quickly, what if the next workplace had another similar person who were to harass them again? Should they pick up and leave a second time?
Trump’s comments imply that it’s the responsibility of the targeted employee to avoid harassment, not the responsibility of the perpetrator to refrain from harassment in the first place. This attitude would put targeted employees who might already fear for their job security in a precarious and defensive position.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a major problem that can sideline the careers and devastate the finances of those affected. Someone with the resources of Ivanka Trump may be able to avoid such harassment by swiftly moving on to a different situation, but for the vast majority of employees who rely on a steady paycheck, fleeing harassment by changing jobs or even careers simply isn’t an option. If you’re experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, speaking with an experienced employment law attorney can help illuminate more realistic options and give you valuable perspective about what to expect if you decide to pursue legal action.