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How do Wyoming’s two new bills address sexual harassment of employees?

Wyoming – February 16, 2022

Mishandled sexual misconduct and gender discrimination complaints in the Wyoming National Guard resulted in two new bills that have cleared their first few legislative hurdles. Senate Bill 45, would require the Wyoming military to debrief legislators and the governor’s office annually on all harassment, assault, and discrimination cases, including findings from workplace assessments including climate surveys and employee interviews. The department would be required to disclose changes to the manner in which sexual harassment allegations, assaults, or discrimination was handled. The bill was developed  after several former employees of the Wyoming National Guard went public about hurdles they had to overcome to get the military to investigate allegations of misconduct or discrimination.

House Bill 53 aims to bring outside oversight to the state military department by looping Wyoming Department of Workforce Services in on grievance processes.  If you have been sexually harassed at a place of work in Wyoming, speak to a Wyoming sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible to explore viable actions against harms caused to you.

Wyoming State and EEOC joint efforts.

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services as a state agency could work in conjunction with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to address negative workplace claims of harassment.  Inclusionary language for the state and federal laws may be slightly different so it is best to consult with a sexual harassment attorney in Wyoming.  Claims to push back against the negative behavior of sexual or workplace harassment became legal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as workplace discrimination, and more recently in the 2020 Supreme Court of the United States ruling in favor of gay, lesbian, and transgender employee rights from discrimination based on sex.

Law.  The law addresses sexual harassment in the form of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature through:

  • Quid Pro Quo. Authoritative figures/bosses in the workplace demand, or require sexual acts for preferential treatment, or to avoid punitive action – employment decisions made because an individual has submitted to, or rejected the negative behaviors.
  • Hostile Work Environment. A boss, or employer does not remedy a work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior is present, negatively affecting work performance and creating intimidating, hostile and abusive work environments.

When a victim is not protected under Title VII language, sexual harassment attorneys may be able to offer another means toward compensation when sexual harassment causes harm and damage to an employee.

Identify sexual harassment.

  1. Uninvited physical contact.
  2. Sexual assault.
  3. Displaying sexually explicit media, or objects.
  4. Intimidation through rude remarks that are gender-related.
  5. Offering promotions, special treatment, or limiting advancement and threatening termination based on requests and submission of sexual favors.
  6. Understated flirting, or sexually suggestive conversation.

Report.

Victims should inform the harasser that their conduct is unwelcome and insist that it stops void of danger. They should use any employer complaint mechanism, or grievance system available, including complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  Positive settlement awards may be the result of strong cases presented by experienced sexual harassment lawyers.

Employer awareness. 

Prevention by employers is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, through clear communication to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated, keeping in mind that leadership and workplace culture have a positive impact on the reduction of sexual harassment. It is also unlawful for employers to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on sex, or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.

Hire a lawyer.

Victims of sexual harassment have legal options against sexual harassment, and hiring a lawyer is the first thing a victim should do after reporting the abuse through the proper channels where the incident took place.

Sources.

  1. https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleVI-Overview
  2. https://www.ada.gov/
  3. Legislature advances two bills expanding oversight to sexual misconduct, discrimination complaints within Wyoming Military | Wyoming News | trib.com
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