A story on PBS’ news magazine "Now" really gripped me last week. A shocking statistic—teenagers are in more danger from sexual predators at their part time jobs than through the Internet. According to one estimate, 200,000 teenagers are assaulted at the workplace each year. It’s a vastly underreported phenomenon, but some brave young women are stepping up publicly to tell their stories.
As an employment lawyer that deals with sexual harassment issues every day and as a father of two daughters myself, I found this story to be incredibly important. Many young women that go into the workplace for the first time simply are not properly prepared to deal with sexually harassing situations. They don’t have the experience to immediately know that conduct is over the line and illegal.
Employers need to be especially vigilant in preventing and stopping sexual harassment in the workplace when they routinely hire young people. This issue impacts hundreds of thousands of teenagers across the country—many of whom don’t know how to report workplace abuse, or to even recognize when their bosses cross the line. While teenagers may be old enough to legally work, they are in many ways still children. Companies that fail to make sure they are not falling prey to illegal sexual harassment at work from co-workers or supervisors will pay a heavy price at the courthouse. At least they will if I have anything to say about it.
I encourage you to watch the entire story below.