Sexual harassment is a common practice in law firms. Joanna Grossman, writing in the Hofstra Law Review, documents the presence of this potentially legal violation and discusses why attorneys and law firms haven’t taken the correct steps to prevent and decrease their liability in prejudice lawsuits. She cites the problem stemming from persistent acts of sexual harassment that go often unnoticed by partners and attorneys.
A 1990 survey by the American Bar Association reported that two-thirds of women in private legal practice had experienced or observed sexual harassment. A 1993 survey by the National Law Journal revealed that more than half of the female lawyers said they had been harassed at some point in their careers, and seventy percent of the attorneys thought harassment was a problem in their workplaces.
Why is this a persistent problem? Perhaps it’s because law firms cannot believe they could ever lose a court battle with an employee.
We believe the more likely reason is that law firms lack knowledge about the day-to-day interactions of their employees and that they assume that their professionals will act more prudently than employees at other companies. It is hard for them to believe that their highly educated attorneys require prejudice training. Our position is that prejudice and discrimination training is necessary. Attorneys and law firms may experience lawsuits in the same way that some of the best and well-known organizations in America. These include Coca-Cola, The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Starbucks, Abercrombie and Fitch, Cracker Barrell and The Vanguard Group.