Taylor Swift's Victory in Sexual Assault Case Provides Lessons for the Workplace

Earlier this week, a Colorado jury found in favor of Taylor Swift on her counterclaim for sexual assault against former radio disc jockey, David Mueller, awarding her exactly what she asked for in damages: a symbolic $1.00. Mueller initially claimed that Swift cost him his job after she reported that he lifted her skirt and grabbed her on the buttocks while they posed for a photo in 2013.

Swift's attorney remarked in an opening statement at the trial that "she's not trying to bankrupt this man, she's just trying to tell people out there that you can say 'no' when someone puts their hand on you."

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Parallels to the workplace abound. Employees must speak up and report the harassment, whether it's coming from an executive, high performer, member of management, or a co-worker. When employees remain silent about the harassment, there can be no remedy, symbolic or otherwise.

Employers must treat harassment complaints seriously, immediately conduct an investigation, and take appropriate action, including, if necessary, termination of the harasser. An employer's failure to do so could result in liability for the actions of the harasser.

If you've been subjected to sexual harassment at your place of work, give us a call today. We can talk you through the steps for reporting the harassment, protect your rights during the investigation, and we can counsel you on your options for legal action.

If your organization has received a sexual harassment complaint, and you're wondering how you should respond, give us a call today. We can advise you on investigation best practices, perform or oversee the investigation, and defend your interests in the event a lawsuit is filed.