What is sexual harassment in the workplace? - FOX Carolina 21

What is sexual harassment in the workplace?

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What is sexual harassment in the workplace? (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 29, 2017) What is sexual harassment in the workplace? (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 29, 2017)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A man known for reporting breaking news found himself as the subject of several headlines on Wednesday.

Television network NBC fired Matt Lauer, a news anchor, after accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. Claims are also being circulating from Hollywood, to Capitol Hill and throughout the country.

"If I am someone who is empowered and who is here to advocate and speak up for women, particularly in this field, and I've had those thoughts and feelings and have had to temper my own behavior because of those things, I can only imagine how every other woman I know, and don't know, has to do that as well," Shauna Galloway-Williams said.

She's Executive Director with the Julie Valentine Center and has experienced unwanted advances and inappropriate comments.

"What we've seen is an increase in the number of men and women who are reaching out for counseling," Galloway-Williams explained.

Those who work at the center in Greenville provide educational, intervention, and treatment services for those impacted by child abuse and sexual assault.

"There are a lot of risks. There is the risk of not being believed, there's a risk to exposing themselves and their families," Galloway-Williams said.

Now, there's a nationwide conversation about what defines harassment. 

"Generally, harassment is governed by a Federal law called Title 7, and covers any company with 15 or more employees," said Ashley Cuttino, a lawyer with Ogletree Deakins in Greenville. "What sexual harassment really means is any unwelcome sexual behavior - that could be verbal, it could be physical or anything in that nature."

She says companies should have a process where employees are able to file complaints if there isn't a set policy, so there can be an investigation. 

"Having a workplace free of sexual harassment or any kind of harassment, is really in the best interest of the company," Cuttino said.

For Galloway-Williams, she hopes men and women continue to feel empowered to report harassment.

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