If it seems hard to breathe lately, it’s not because wildfires are back. The sudden shortage of oxygen follows a rash of reports of sexual harassment by men in politics, business and entertainment which have caused local lechers to inhale sharply and all at once, panicked that the next groping headline will be about them.
Unlike a well-known animated filmmaker who recently became yet another cartoon for ‘presidential’ behavior, ordinary Tom, Dick & Geraldo’s don’t have the financial wherewithal to take selfimposed leaves-of-absence from work in order to repent. For them, a stint at a Sex Rehab Spa is unaffordable, even without the optional boiling oil and castration treatments.
But it’s their victims who need help. Countless women who work in order to afford Sonoma Valley’s luxuries — food, clothes, a dry place under a bridge to live — fret that a workplace sleazebag might someday pin them against the copier or invite them to his office or the barrel room for one of those so-called ‘performance reviews.’
People ask, “Why hasn’t more been done by now to protect women and (in Alabama) girls from sexual harassment?” Here’s a summary of efforts to date:
Alas, men can be extremely slow learners. Professionals who care for, teach and advocate for the severely developmentally disabled would despair if their charges made so little progress after so much guidance over so long a time.
Of course, the developmentally disabled are not the problem. As countless women have learned, the ancient but only recently discovered biblical passage remains true today: “Verily, the a**holes ye shall always have with you.”
While proper policies and continuing education can reduce workplace harassment, every woman should be prepared to recognize, confront and, if possible, profit if it happens to them. ‘Profit’, as in: Win Lots Of Money By Suing The Shorts Off The Constantly Potty-mouthed, Butt-Grabbing SOB’s and the Employers Who Do Nothing To Stop Them.
With the Office Party Season upon us, here’s a timely tip for every woman: Learn about your legal rights to be free from sex harassment and the tools available to neuter workplace cretins. A good primer can be found at the Equal Rights Advocates website [https://www. equalrights.org/legal-help/know-yourrights/sexual-harassment-at-work/].
Women should also read their employer’s policy against sex harassment (every employer should have one) to learn who is in charge of receiving and investigating sex harassment complaints. NOTE: It’s very unlawful for employers to retaliate against those who complain about sexual harassment.
Next, get LSD: Lawyer on Speed Dial. The Sonoma County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service [www.sonomacountybar.org/?page_id=150] can provide names of attorneys experienced in combating sex harassment. When dealing with the Amorously Inept, lawyers are like gynecologists: every woman should have one.
Thus prepared, should her employer fail to take seriously her complaint of sexual harassment, a hassled woman can hold up her cellphone and say: “Señor, estoy seguro de que mi abogado puede explicar estas cosas mucho mejor que yo. ¿A quién debería llamar?”
In English: “Sir, I know my attorney can explain these things much better than I. Who should I have her call?”