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Is Sexual Harassment a Severe Crime... or Not?

Is Sexual Harassment a Severe Crime... or Not?

Eve Tahmincioglu |

No one but Hurd and Fisher knows exactly what happened between them, but this type of story always gets under my skin. These backroom settlements of sexual harassment claims that leave the alleged harasser in his job has to make you wonder how serious the problem was.

Did Fisher really see Hurd as a threat? Did the money in the end outweigh any moral obligation to keep him from striking again?

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Sexual harassers just don’t go away, because, “sexual harassment is, and always has been, about power more than it is about sex,” says Kathleen Neville, author of “Internal Affairs: The Abuse of Power, Sexual Harassment, and Hypocrisy in the Workplace.”

The HP saga shows we have a long way to go before we can eradicate this type of behavior in the nation’s workplaces. As it is, people don’t take sexual harassment seriously folks, and that contributes to the problem and a general feeling that it’s OK to be immoral. And even teenagers have to endure this type of sleazy behavior sometimes. Maybe adults should help the young kids out by standing up to sleaze, not just looking for some payola for our troubles.

Yes, I do think monetary damages via the court system or government agency actions are often needed in these cases to get companies and managers following the rules, but that comes with a public airing of problems so everyone can know what’s going on.

But even that is no guarantee behaviors will change.

So many people thought it was a big fat joke that a big star like David Letterman was frolicking with young interns at his studio.

Well, that wasn’t funny, and the HP scandal isn’t funny either.

So, what should you do if you’re a victim of sexual harassment?

Next: Just Say No →

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