The problem has spread from coast to coast, across the heartland and from north to south. Sexual misconduct in the workplace is a nationwide problem that affects people of any age in any industry. Many expect that lawmakers will put new protections into place that will make it easier to report sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation, but those hopes might be misplaced.
Since last year, the Associated Press has compiled a list of 76 state lawmakers who have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. The list includes Wisconsin Rep. Josh Zepnick, who was recently accused of kissing two women against their will.
The 50-year-old Zepnick represents residents in Milwaukee’s 9th Assembly District.
Others on the AP list include Arizona legislator Don Shooter, who was expelled from office early this year after investigators uncovered a long history of sexual harassment of women. Shooter was undeterred, however: he ran for a state Senate seat, but was defeated earlier this week.
A California Assemblyman resigned in January after a lobbyist accused him of pushing her into a bathroom and engaging “in lewd behavior in front of her,” AP reported. An investigation substantiated the claims against Matt Dababneh.
In Colorado, Rep. Steve Lebsock was expelled from office after an investigator found that claims he had harassed at least five women were credible.
Florida Sen. Jack Latvala resigned after allegations that he traded sexual favors from a former lobbyist to help pass legislation.
An Illinois lawmaker resigned a few weeks ago after an ex-girlfriend accused him of posting nude photos of her on social media. Rep. Nick Sauer had served on the House Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Task Force.
There are dozens more examples of state legislators’ sexual misconduct in the AP article.
If you have been subjected to inappropriate behavior in the workplace, you can protect yourself and your career while holding the perpetrator accountable. Discuss your legal options with an employment law attorney.