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Changes to employment law may help to reduce harassment

In the year 2018 sexual harassment remains an issue for working women in California. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the media and entertainment industry where the issue was brought to the fore by the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Revelations in the wake of that case reveal that it is a much broader problem. In a recent survey, 41 percent of women who filed harassment claims were in the media or entertainment industry. The California Assembly is revising a 1994 employment law to further protect women.

The law already protects women in professional relationships such as between employee and employer, vendor or contractor. The revised law would also protect against harassment in relationships such as that between a woman and a mentor or advisor. This change recognizes that people such as directors and producers can have professional relationships and impact a person's career before an employer-employee relationship exists.

A piece of the law has always stated that professional and quasi-professional relationships are included in the statute. Making it more explicit includes those in the entertainment industry. While the changes to the law may not immediately cure the issue, it will give women a clearer path to redress if they feel they have been unfairly treated.

Sexual harassment has been around for a very long time and is not likely to disappear overnight. However, giving women the power to fight back may go a long way to reducing the number of incidents. A woman in California who feels she may have been mistreated may benefit from seeking the counsel of an experienced employment law attorney. He or she can review the client's situation and possibly advise her on what legal options are available.

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