For any worker, being patronized, stereotyped, maligned and mistreated can be crushing, demeaning and hurtful. Such feelings are compounded when you are an older worker. Age discrimination is alive and well in the American workplace, but not enough has been done to combat something so destructive to a person’s soul or his or her livelihood.
Picture this: You work as a skydiving instructor. You love your job, and you’re a good employee. You arrive on time each day, and you dedicate yourself completely to your work. One day, you’re preparing for a tandem skydive with a female student, and she seems uneasy about being strapped so closely to you—a male. You reassure her by letting her know that you’re gay. A few days later, you get fired.
Wrongful termination laws are in place for a reason: to protect workers who have been illegally fired. Most people on the job are considered "at will" employees, and can be fired for any reason as long as it is not illegal. However, employees or contractors cannot be terminated for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
Maybe it was a joke about your body or a comment on what you were wearing perhaps it was even a "mistaken" touch that made you realize you had been sexually harassed. The modern day working environment presents more of a struggle than ever for workers seeking help after experiencing sexual harassment on the job.
Our own Toni Jaramilla was featured in an LA Times article about sexual harassment in the workplace. She commented on what constitutes as harassment at work and the importance of documenting the incidents.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual harassment at work, you probably realized that what was happening was illegal. Typical cases involve far more than an innocent compliment or a friendly arm around the shoulders. As we’ve all seen in the news recently, sexual harassment commonly involves blatant, persistent sexual advances, unwanted sexual touching and worse.