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Stanford professor fired after reporting sexual abuse

Your employer is not permitted to fire you when you exercise your right to report awful or improper behavior. Your employer cannot fire you for complying with internal reporting procedures nor can you be fired for filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or any other government agency.

Unfortunately, it appears that Stanford did not get the memo. School administrators allegedly terminated a professor after she reported repeated unwanted sexual advances and harassment from a senior member of the faculty. She reported numerous alleged incidents in which he confessed feelings and desires to her.

She complained to the HR department which launched an investigation. The investigation concluded that the professor made unwanted sexual advances but was unclear regarding punishment. While the professor’s tenure position was eventually confirmed, her husband, another professor at Stanford was suddenly terminated (his contract was not renewed despite consistent high marks for teaching).

This story comes on the heels of several other sexual harassment claims that have rocked the campus. Stanford has weathered numerous stories regarding apathetic administration officials, a culture of tolerance for sexual harassment, and administrators prioritizing the reputation of the school over the complaints of victims. Furthermore, it seems Stanford offered her a settlement, but she would have had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. She rejected the offer.

If you are or were the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, then you may want to contact a lawyer at your earliest convenience. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for reporting bad behavior. Retaliation does not have to be against you; it can be your spouse or a friend. A lawyer can investigate the incident and advise you on the best methods to obtain compensation or effect change at the institution.

Source: The Guardian, “Ex-Stanford professor: I was pushed out after reporting sexual harassment,” Sam Levin, December 19, 2016

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