Baton Rouge, LA– Over the past few weeks allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against prominent men in Hollywood and the news media keep coming at breakneck speed. Some complaints have resulted in significant monetary settlements for the victims. Of course, these settlements are costly for the perpetrator and their employer, but the costs of these cases don’t end. Sexual harassment payouts also impact the average American taxpayer and are often enshrouded in secrecy, allowing the accused of preying on others sexually.
Sexual Harassment Allegations Lead to High-Cost Settlements
In October, shocking tales of sexual misconduct on behalf of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced. Once a few victims came forward, it opened the floodgates, and now several dozen women have come forward against the producer. That also true of former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly who was also outed for sexual misconduct.
Weinstein paid several sexual misconduct settlements between 1990 and 2015, CBS reports. Each of those settlements included nondisclosure agreements. That means the victims cannot warn other women about the behaviors they endured.
o the perpetrators don’t face scrutiny for their misconduct, which was in Weinstein’s case.
Bill O’Reilly of Fox News settled paid $32 million to settle a sexual misconduct claim in 2016. The victim signed a non-disclosure agreement, so the details of the case are unknown. It should be noted that $32 million is an unusually large amount for a sexual harassment case.
According to CBS, the Fox News was unaware of the amount paid to O’Reilly’s victim, so it is likely he paid the settlement out of his personal income.
Both Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly paid multiple women to keep the details of their sexual misconduct secret. Keeping such allegations secret only allows more women, and men, to be victimized. It gives the harasser implied permission to continue sexually abusing others because there will be limited repercussions for their behavior.
How Do Sexual Harassment Claims Affect the American Taxpayer?
The American tax code has dozens of deductibles. One that benefits sexual harassers, and allows them to write off any civil judgments, including secret settlements for sexual harassment and misconduct and the associated legal fees. Individuals and businesses can take the deduction to alleviate their tax burden at the expense of the American taxpayer. These workplaces get to financially benefit from failing to act and address harassment and other behaviors that create a hostile work environment.
When the City of Baton Rouge is forced to settle a sexual harassment or another misconduct claim, some of the costs come from city taxes which are used to pay insurance premiums and part of civil awards. Victims of sexual harassment and misconduct deserve to be compensated for the abuse they endured, but businesses who don’t stop sexual harassment shouldn’t be allowed to reap financial benefits on the backs of the average taxpayer.
If American corporations weren’t given tax breaks for sexual harassment settlements, perhaps they would work harder to prevent it. Many companies are more concerned with their bottom line than doing the ethical thing, so if there were a higher economic cost to ignoring sexual harassment and misconduct, maybe they’d be more proactive in addressing the issue.
Tax reform is a goal for Republicans, but it isn’t clear if the deductions for civil awards will be among the deductions that could be eliminated.
Victims of sexual harassment should not be afraid to come forward, but many do. If you have a sexual harassment complaint, you should consider speaking to a sexual harassment lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. USAttorneys can help you locate and get in touch with a local sexual harassment lawyer to discuss your situation, determine if you are eligible for compensation and offer legal solutions.