With more and more sexual harassment claims surfacing involving government employees, “a handful of women legislators want to change Florida ethics laws to make it a crime for elected officials to coerce someone into having sex in exchange for official acts, in the same way that it’s off-limits for officials to accept other kinds of gifts,” according to Orlando Weekly. The news source highlighted that just last month, a Florida Democratic senator resigned from his post, admitting that he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist. And shortly after that, a Clearwater Republican who was running for governor “was stripped of his post” after six women came forward claiming the republican groped them and made unwelcome comments about their bodies.
But, what is being done about it?
Currently, there is a law in place that prohibits solicitation and acceptance of gifts by elected officials, but sexual harassment is not mentioned anywhere in the law. Broward County, FL democrat Lauren Book looked through the law and found nothing that supports penalizing anyone for committing acts of sexual misconduct or abuse, but she feels there should be. So, Book and another Broward County Democrat, Representative Kristen Jacobs, have teamed up together to create a “framework for a task force to address the once-hidden issue of sexual harassment and misconduct” that “women who work in the legislative process contend is part of the cost of doing business in Tallahassee.”
But should sexual harassment be viewed as just something that comes along with a job? Should women in politics just expect it to happen and allow unwelcome acts to be swept under the rug? The answer is no, which is why Book and Jacobs are working to find ways so that the issue is addressed properly and handled in the manner that it should be.
One of the things Book is hoping to do is assign an independent entity to handle alleged sexual misconduct allegations which are currently being handled internally by the Senate or the Office of Legislative Affairs. She would also have her task force meet three times in 2019 to present its recommendations to legislative leaders. Hopefully, Book and Jacobs can help to get a small sector of the political field under control so that consequences are provided to those who engage in acts that are considered to be forms of sexual misconduct.
Sexual Harassment Shouldn’t Be Viewed as a Part of a Job Description
Just because you work in a male-dominated field doesn’t mean you should be subjected to inappropriate behavior. And working for someone who has an enormous amount of power over certain things doesn’t give them the right to abuse this and coerce you into engaging in a sexual act you didn’t consent to. If you are ever put into a situation where an employer or even a co-worker has forced themselves onto you or made inappropriate comments that left you feeling uneasy, don’t hesitate to speak with a Broward County, FL sexual harassment attorney.
The Broward County sexual misconduct lawyers USAttorneys.com works with can explain to you the steps you should take regarding handling the matter and what forms of legal actions you are legally permitted to take to combat against it.