An exit email sent by a female employee to the members of the board of directors for the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C. think tank, alleged that male employees were allowed to sexually harass female employees and were protected by supervisors when claims of improper behavior were made to the human resources department.
The allegations included claims that female staffers who reported improper behavior were retaliated against by supervisors and made to believe that the act of reporting was damaging to team dynamics and the success of the Center. As the Center housed a national sexual harassment awareness campaign, these claims reverberate even more.
The Center is viewed as a training ground for young individuals who desire to become involved with the Democratic Party at a nationwide level and according to some employees, this has led to a “go along to get along” attitude among the employees and supervisors. This attitude, according to the female employee, discouraged reporting of inappropriate conduct and only served to encourage the suggestive texting and conversations carried out by mail staffers.
Being accused of sexual harassment in the workplace can result in both termination as well as being sued in civil court. The District of Columbia has laws on the books that make it a discriminatory practice to engage in sexual harassment in the workplace, and those laws allow an individual who has been subjected to sexual harassment to seek judgment in court against the harasser.
Sexual harassment is not currently a crime in D.C. However, sexual harassment that leads to sexual activity where the person felt pressured or threatened to participate in the act may be defined as either misdemeanor or felony sexual abuse, which carries a punishment of at least 180 days all the way to life in prison in certain extreme situations. “Being charged with sexual abuse in D.C., even if a misdemeanor, is a serious issue. Failure to take it seriously can result in incarceration and serious monetary penalties,” said Matthew Wilson, a Washington, D.C. sex crimes lawyer.
If you have been charged with a sex crime in Washington, D.C., make certain that you have engaged an experienced attorney to assist you in pleading your case and defending your rights.