ANSWER TO THE QUESTION
What Can Be Learned from the Maldonado v. Public Supermarkets Case
The Maldonado v. Publix Supermarkets case involves a grocery store employee who reported a sexual harassment claim against her employer. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the acts of harassment have happened over the course of several years. In 1989, Ms. Maldonado started working with Publix Supermarkets. About ten years later, she was transferred to work as a specialist in the seafood department in a new branch in Coral Springs, Florida. Catalino Vasquez, Ms. Maldonado’s coworker made advances towards her with initial inappropriate incidence involving Mr. Vasquez touching her right side in between her right hip and buttocks. She reported the incident to the supervisor, Bill Thompson who offered a warning to Mr. Vasquez and she was satisfied with the resolution. However, a year later, Vasquez groped Maldonado’s buttock provoking her to respond aggressively. Maldonado then filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her employer, Publix since she felt that little was done to rectify the situation. The Maldonado v. Publix Supermarkets is a true representation of what happens in workplaces regarding sexual harassment and businesses can learn from the progression of the situation and the best possible methods to handle such cases.
In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that have taken shape recently, conversations on sexual harassment at the workplace have been on a significant rise. Men and women have united on such an important course of denouncing sexual harassment and assault. While the campaign was characterized by mostly Hollywood cases, non-Hollywood employers also have a responsibility of guaranteeing their employees safety or risk being reprehended for something happening under their leadership. Every employer is obliged to remain vigilant on the interactions at the workplace as well as ensuring that everyone is well-versed with the policies on sexual harassment.
The policies should be well-stated and the companies reiterate the commitment to providing a safe environment for all the workers free from any form of discrimination and harassment at the workplace including sexual harassment. Businesses must underscore that they will treat any sexual harassment episode seriously and proper investigation done on the same. The team should be reminded that in the event one is found guilty of sexually harassing another person, he or she will face disciplinary action, which may include getting dismissed. Furthermore, business should assure the employees that any complaint will be given the confidence and respect it deserves and no individual will be victimized for speaking up.
Most sexual harassment victims fail to report their experiences because they are afraid that the situation would worsen afterward or remain the same. It is the responsibility of institutions to ensure that the employees’ human rights are well-protected and all forms of discrimination and harassment at work are tackled by well-trained individuals. Companies may ask the employees to ask them in ensuring the workplace is safe by confronting sexual harassment issues as soon as they happen. Employees who are sexual harassment victims should be able to feel comfortable going to their employers to resolve the situation.
While sexual harassment is well-defined in the employment law, it is still a grey area and businesses should strive to address the loose ends. The Maldonado v. Publix Supermarkets case has highlighted the fact that the issue of sexual harassment requires extra stringent measures to curb. Therefore, businesses should remain attentive to their employees and treat every sexual abuse incident as sufficient to take proper action and not making excuses or waiting for a repeat of the same to suffice a reaction.
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