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Forest Service hit with accusations of sexual harassment

Everyone deserves to feel respected and valued at work, regardless of gender, religion or race. That's one of the fundamental laws of this country. Unfortunately, we see managers and co-workers crossing those lines too frequently.

Oftentimes, employees who are discriminated against or harassed in the workplace dismiss the behavior with excuses like, "he's just like that with everyone," or "it's harmless joking around." Other employees might think that speaking up will result in retaliation from the employer or the unwanted attention that taking action can bring. Many fear losing everything they've worked for. It's important to remember that if you've been the subject of harassment, you've done nothing wrong. Coming forward is an act of bravery.

One woman, an employee of the Forest Service, was harassed when her supervisor touched her breasts on the job in 2009. She claimed that this type of behavior continued for two years until she finally spoke out. Since then, several employees of the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service have come forward as whistleblowers to report what they see as a systemic problem with harassment and retaliation. Many claimed that they reported disturbing incidents to the Agriculture secretary, who responded with platitudes but no action.

Unfortunately, cases like the Forest Service are not that rare. If you feel you've been harassed or retaliated against at your job, it might be a good idea to speak with an attorney about the situation. A lawyer can listen to your story, review the law with you and may be able to build a case to win a victory, not just for you, but for everyone who experiences this sort of injustice.

Source: washingtonpost.com, "Forest Service slammed over sexual-harassment and civil rights complaints," Joe Davidson, December 2, 2016

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