The #MeToo movement took off after celebrities brought sexual harassment to the forefront of our culture.
The #MeToo movement has made its way into our homes and lives now more than ever before because of high profile cases. But for many victims, making the first step of action can be difficult.
“So if you are a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault whether it is by a family member which would make it domestic violence or a non family member, the first place to start is maybe to go to the magistrate court and file either a PSO which is a personal safety order or a DVPO which is a domestic violence protection order,” said Angela White, with Legal Aid in Clarksburg.
If the case is domestic, then it is important to make sure the home environment is made safe. However, cases of sexual harassment in the workplace is getting more attention.
“As far as some other things that happened with the “me too” movement are sexual harassment in the workplace or by someone who is maybe an authority figure in your life,” said White.
Cases of harassment in the work place are handled by attorneys who specialize in employment law. The West Virginia Human Rights Act is in place to make work place environments safe. According to www.workplacefairness.org, West Virginia state law has been considered more protective of employees in the areas of racial and sexual harassment and disability than federal law.
“And it protects employees from actions really from their employers or even from their co-workers when proper channels are followed. It protects them from pervasive harassment. It protects them from hostile work environments. It protects them from discrimination,” said Attorney Dave Goddard with Goddard and Wagoner in Clarksburg.
Attorney Dave Goddard in Clarksburg said when an employee said “no” to unwanted advances or touching, the employee can then lose their job.
“You know they want to be comfortable and know that look “I can stand up for my rights. I can stand up for myself without having my employment affected” and if it is affected then they have rights. They have opportunities to seek legal advice and pursue those claims,” said Goddard.
If you feel like you have a claim, you can go to www.workplacefairness.org for more information.