Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz and senior counsel Hannah Alejandro published an OpEd for Law360 on October 30, 2016, entitled, "How Sexual Harassment Stays Hidden." They discuss the recent surge in the number of women publicly sharing their experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the aftermath of the release of the Trump Access Hollywood videotape. From Gretchen Carlson to Moira Smith, women from a variety of backgrounds have come forward during this election cycle to speak out about their experiences after years of silence. These brave women have inspired others to come forward with their stories; however, according to the authors, we must confront the question about why do most victims of sexual harassment and assault not report their experiences and stop blaming the victims. The authors note that often, victims feel "isolated, and are encouraged to come forward only when they realize that their experience was not unique and that they will be believed."
In addition, many choose not to report harassment or assault for fear of retaliation and ridicule. The victims who do step forward are frequently restricted by mandatory confidential arbitrations clauses that shield misconduct from public record. "...[T]hese clauses can indirectly enable sexual harassment by disguising the true extent of a hostile work environment, the true pervasive nature of a sex harasser's repeated conduct against multiple victims, and the true posture of the employer about its tolerance of this form of invidious sex discrimination." To achieve true gender equality, the authors conclude that the law must "protect all victims by creating an atmosphere where sexual harassment is never worth it." To read the full Op-ed piece, click here.