EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- It may be highlighted on the national level, but sexual harassment is an issue that many different people in different workplaces have encountered.
“I think it is very difficult for women especially to come forward when something like that has happened because they are in fear of losing their positions, retaliation, things like that. If they decide to leave that position, being fearful of not being able to find another job, that they may be labeled as someone who makes a lot of complaints or causes trouble,” says Candi Geist, market leader at Manpower in Eau Claire.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 1 in 4 women are sexually harassed in the workplace.
It also says 70% of women don’t report harassment.
“We know right now as people are speaking out telling their stories loudly and clearly that this is really a very significant problem in our society,” says Senator Tammy Baldwin, who has introduced legislation known as the Fair Employment Protection Act that would directly protect workers who are harassed by a supervisor.
“If your supervisor sexually harasses you or otherwise harasses you, you only have the right to bring a complaint to your employer if they have hiring and firing authority. It redefines supervisors in cases of sexual harassment but especially as we know from these cases that are being talked about throughout the nation right now, when someone has power,” says Baldwin.
Now with more national attention, comes the hope of prevention.
“I hope with all the media attention that's being brought to it, that it helps those who maybe have experienced it or are maybe not sure whether something that has happened to them has been appropriate or not so that the appropriate actions can be taken,” says Geist.
We did reach out to Senator Ron Johnson's office for a comment on this legislature. We have not heard back at this time.