Couple Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment
Gender equality is a huge issue in today’s world. As more and more women enter the workforce, they are subjected to sexual harassment in several different ways. Recognizing this problem, the US government has implemented strict sexual harassment laws that protect the rights of women in the workforce. However, in spite of these laws, some cases do not receive the justice they deserve. Take the example of Mary and Ryan Thomas of Dallas.
On October 29th, Mary and Ryan Thomas filed a complaint in the Galveston division of the Texas courts against AB Car Rental Services Inc., which is a part of the Avis Budget Car Rental and Avis Budget Group Inc. The couple stated that they had been wrongfully terminated when they reported a sexual harassment complaint. Well, Mary complained but both of them missed work due to Mary’s surgery. But they had authorization to miss work. Both of them informed their superiors about this surgery and that they needed to miss a few days of work.
Why Ryan had to miss the same amount of time is another story. Why they both worked for the same employer is also another topic of discussion too.
According to the complainants, Mary was repeatedly harassment by a coworker within a week of being employed. The coworker made inappropriate sexual comments and even grabbed her over her objections. Mary then complained to one of her regular shift managers who told her to complain to someone in upper management. However, due to medical reasons, Mary had to take a leave of absence.
Surprisingly, when she returned to work, she was notified that she had been terminated as she had missed too many days of work. They told her husband Ryan the same thing. Mary stated that she sometimes worked for more than 40 hours per week and this was without overtime pay. In fact, she stated that there was no reason to fire her at all. The only reason that she could conceive was the sexual harassment complaint that her manager had refused to consider. She claimed that the company had terminated her for complaining and she had been wrongfully terminated.
This is complicated but Mary being sexually harassed at work just cannot be tolerated.
What are Her Chances?
Although this may seem like a unique case, it is not different from the thousands of sexual harassment cases being filed by women all over the world. Women and children are the recipients of more than 30,000 sexually related accidents and injuries in the US. Most of these injuries are inflicted by estranged spouses, lovers, family members, and aggressive colleagues.
Sexual harassment is particularly prevalent in workplace with more than 54% of all women having reported some kind of sexual harassment. More than 27% of these complaints against coworkers and 17% were against immediate superiors. Surprisingly, the statistics were even across both genders with both men and women facing the same percentage of sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, almost 66% of affected candidates were unaware of current laws that could protect them. Only 50% of the candidates were aware that their office was legally required to have a resource person who would have helped them deal with the issue (well, it depends on the size of the company).
Not there Yet
Lawyers that specialize in sexual harassment cases have stated that the law is frequently skewed in favor of the offender with the onus of proving the case falling on the affected woman. Current laws have not proved to be sufficient in deterring sexual harassment and violence against women and children. Sexual harassment lawyers agree that tighter laws, harsher penalties, and a progressive attitude is the need of the day.