LC attorney urges prompt reporting of sexual harassment

LC attorney urges prompt reporting of sexual harassment

LAKE CHARLES, LA - From Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer, the list of high-profile sexual harassment allegations has grown in recent weeks.

And that's put a fresh spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment can occur in any setting, but in the workplace it can affect numerous employees and cause a company to get sued if not handled properly.

Lake Charles attorney John Bradford is experienced handling such cases for victims and companies. He says companies should have a sexual harassment policy.

"It's a simple policy. The policy is, go report it to somebody that the action is not consensual," he said.

And he says to train employees.

"I think companies have to have a training to make sure that the person who is being harassed feels comfortable to go report it and believes that the company will respond appropriately and not jeopardize their work," he said.

While it's not always simple to sort out what is and what is not sexual harassment, for a victim, Bradford said the key is consent and speaking up.

"Sometimes unless that person speaks up and says, 'No, I don't  like this, this is unwanted,' the other person might think, 'Oh, she likes it. Or he likes it,' " he said.

And Bradford says report it to the appropriate person at work.

"As you see, people are now speaking out as to what happened to them, and they didn't like it, way back to 1970. So, that doesn't mean it's not sexual harassment - it is. It just means that that person who was doing the sexual harassment might have the opportunity to sexually harass a lot more people," he said.

Bradford says companies should also monitor what appears to be a romance at work.

"And one of the ways an employer can do it, when he sees two people are having a relationship, is get them to sign a contract that it is consensual. That's a little bit unusual but I have used it here in Lake Charles and it works, because you tell them, if it becomes non-consensual and you break up, you have to let me know so I can make sure we don't put you together," he said.

Bradford says sexual harassment that goes unreported paves the way for serial offenders.

He also says reporting sexual harassment is often a favor to the offender who may not realize what he's doing is unacceptable.

To hear more of our interview with Bradford, look for our web extra at the top of this story.

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