Defense Department Makes Sexual Harassment a CrimeJune 18, 2019
Sexual assault cases rose significantly in the armed forces in 2018. In response, the United States Defense Department issued a new directive that is intended to combat the serious problem of sexual harassment and assault. The department plans to codify sexual assault as a separate military crime with stronger penalties. The plan will also work to prevent retaliation against victims who report sexual harassment.
Reports of sexual assault and harassment have risen across the military with a recent study finding that reported cases increased from 4,800 in 2016 to over 6,050 in 2018. Because high numbers of sexual assault across all segments of society go unreported, officials believe the actual number may be more than 20,000 cases for 2018. This represents an alarming increase of 38 percent over the previous two years.
Right to a Safe Workplace
Employees in all workplaces have the right to a safe workplace free of sexual harassment and assault. In the wake of the #MeToo movement across the United States, more attention is being paid to the often-hidden epidemic of sexual harassment and assault at work. The U.S. military has been the subject of frustration from lawmakers and advocates for a lack of adequate improvements to address it within its branches, as well as the service academies.
One recent report found that 43 percent of women who report sexual assault to military officials state the process resulted in negative experiences for victims, including retaliatory harassment. The Defense Secretary stated that the problem undermines trust and morale and impacts military readiness. Members of Congress called the problem an urgent one and advocated for Congressional oversight due to what they see as the failure by the Department of Defense to combat it. The five military academies also found a staggering increase of almost 50 percent of sexual assault since 2016, according to defense officials.
If you were the victim of workplace sexual harassment or assault, it is important to have strong legal representation from a skilled employment lawyer who can advocate for your rights. Sexual harassment and assault at work are violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and can include a variety of unwanted advances that create a hostile workplace. Sexual assault is also a criminal act and the military has not released additional details of how they intend to further prosecute offenders and increase penalties.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Unlawful Workplace Sexual Harassment
If you suffered sexual harassment at work, the Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help. We will review your case and defend your rights. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 today. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill.