With its high-pressure work environment and male-dominated culture, the banking industry has seen numerous cases of sexual harassment and misconduct over the years. Sexual harassment is against the law, and employers have an obligation to stop it.

As a survivor of sexual harassment in the banking industry, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. At Boucher LLP, we understand that telling your story can be difficult so we will always guide you with patient and compassionate listening.

We are dedicated to helping our clients like family and we will take a tactical approach to every case. Our goal is to help you seek justice and financial compensation for the damages caused by the harassment.

By coming forward and standing up for your rights, you can encourage others to speak out and help end workplace harassment.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination that can take many forms. It includes sexually motivated harassment, gender harassment, and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. 

Physical touching, offensive comments or jokes, and displaying sexually suggestive images or objects can all be sexual harassment. Supervisors, coworkers, clients, and customers can commit sexual harassment, regardless of gender, age, or seniority.

Sexual harassment can interfere with an individual’s ability to perform their job and create a toxic workplace environment. Once it creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working environment, it is unlawful discrimination. 

banker sexual harassment

What Laws Prohibit Sexual Harassment in the Banking Industry?

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits sexual harassment in workplaces with at least one employee, including government employers.

An employer violates FEHA if reasonable precautions to prevent discrimination and harassment are not implemented and executed, including but not limited to having a clear, explicit anti-harassment policy. In addition, the EEOC defines harassment based on sex as gender discrimination that violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964

These laws make employers responsible for sexual harassment committed by supervisors who can impact an employee’s job status, such as hiring or firing, demoting, or changing their benefits.

The extent of the harasser’s authority determines the employer’s level of culpability for the harassing behavior. Employers can also be responsible for harassment by non-supervisory employees, customers, or clients if they knew or should have known about it and failed to prevent it.

Failure to monitor the workplace, respond to complaints, or provide a harassment reporting mechanism are all examples of employer negligence.

If you are employed by a bank and they have acted negligently in preventing or stopping harassment, you may be able to sue the bank for sexual harassment. The attorneys at Boucher LLP can help you determine if you have a case.

Hold Abusers Accountable

If you suffered sexual assault or harassment due to the negligence of your employer or another institution, you can hold the them accountable by filing a claim. Contact Boucher LLP today for a free consultation.

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How Prevalent Is Sexual Harassment in the Financial Industry?

Sexual harassment is a widespread problem in the financial industry. In a 2018 financial services survey, 59.4% of women and 8.9% of men reported having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

A survey from the following year found that three out of ten financial advisors have personally experienced sexual harassment.

Many financial and banking services organizations have hierarchical and ultra-competitive workplace cultures, as well as a notorious lack of timely and thorough investigations into harassment claims, all of which may contribute to the high frequency of harassment. In addition, sexual harassment is often not made public due to non-disclosure agreements or an ineffective reporting policy.

Examples of Sexual Harassment in Financial Institutions

As of 2019, the financial services industry has paid $530 million in damages to sexual harassment victims. Bank of America (and its subsidiary Merrill Lynch), Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo have all paid millions of dollars in harassment claims.

In many cases, employees join together in a class action lawsuit to take on large financial organizations. For example, in 2014, four women filed a sexual harassment case against investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The case became a class action in 2018 and at the time of settlement about 2,800 female associates and vice presidents had joined the suit. The women alleged that the bank “permits or facilitates a culture where male professionals view women as sexual objects” and referred to the bank as a “sexualized and male-centric workplace.”

They claimed women were excluded from work events, unfairly passed over for promotions, and received unequal pay. The women also alleged that the bank fosters a culture where sexual harassment and assault are prevalent and go unpunished.

After over a decade of fierce litigation, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $215 million to settle the claims. 

What Must an Employer Do to Prevent Sexual Harassment?

Employers have a legal obligation under FEHA to prevent and address workplace sexual harassment, including:

  • Implementing policies and procedures that outline what behaviors are considered sexual harassment, how employees can report incidents of harassment, and how the employer will respond to reports of harassment;
  • Providing training on what sexual harassment is, how to prevent it, and how to report incidents of harassment;
  • Responding promptly to complaints and investigating them thoroughly;
  • Taking steps to protect the confidentiality of the victim and any witnesses; and
  • Creating a safe and respectful workplace culture.

By taking these steps, employers can help prevent harassment and provide a workplace environment where all employees are treated with dignity and respect.

Sexual harassment is a serious violation of workplace rights and failure to take these steps can result in legal consequences and damage to the company’s reputation. 

How Can Boucher LLP Help If I Experience Sexual Harassment in the Banking Industry?

The best way to get justice for sexual harassment is to work with an experienced professional. However, we understand the psychological barriers you may face when seeking help.

At Boucher LLP, we strive to create a safe and compassionate environment for our clients. Through our advocacy, we aim to help survivors find a sense of inner peace and closure. We work to identify and punish those responsible and demand accountability from businesses and organizations that ignore reports of sexual harassment and assault.

If you’re looking for an attorney to help you navigate the legal process and seek justice, we are here for you.