Minneapolis, MN- Sexual harassment is still a problem in the American workplace and affects thousands of employees every year. Those just happen to be the cases that are reported and confirmed, there are likely an equal amount of cases that are ignored or underreported. And why wouldn’t those case go ignored when you have women advising other women to just ignore sexual harassment and “put up with.” At least that’s what Science magazine columnist Alice Huang told a young woman whose professor’s eyes linger on her chest.
The magazine is under fire for publishing the Huang’s advice and has since took the post down. But it’s the internet and the folks at Retraction Watch captured the original post.
Bothered writes: “Q: I’ve just joined a new lab for my second postdoc. It’s a good lab. I’m happy with my project. I think it could really lead to some good results. My adviser is a good scientist, and he seems like a nice guy. Here’s the problem: Whenever we meet in his office, I catch him trying to look down my shirt. Not that this matters, but he’s married. What should I do?”
The best advice would be to confront the professor in non-adversarial way and tell him the leering makes he feel uncomfortable. This often puts an end to sexual harassment because it makes a person aware their attention is unwanted.
But instead of advising the student to speak up for herself, Huang suggested “Bothered” just “put up with it, with good humor” unless the professor makes any other advances. After a long explanation of what sexual harassment is, Huang says the student just needs to make certain her professor is taking her science “seriously,” adding, “His attention on your chest may be unwelcome, but you need his attention on your science and his best advice.”
Of course, the notion that this student should just ignore harassment enraged many. It’s a ridiculous notion and a suggestion that would seem to hail from the Mad Men era, not 2015.
First of all, no one, woman or man, should ignore sexual harassment. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it better nor does it make it go away, and, in many cases can actually make it worse. The object of the harassment should follow the proper steps by asking the harasser to stop their behavior. If they don’t, then the issue needs to be taken up with your employer or a school administrator. If that doesn’t work then it’s time to contact a sexual harassment attorney and decide if a civil suit is in order.
Not addressing sexual harassment is toxic to an environment and can be costly for all those involved. In the event you are the victim of sexual harassment, you need someone on your side to protect your rights and build a successful injury claim. USAttorneys has sexual harassment attorneys in Minnesota who will be your defender and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.