Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yes, Conservatives, There Is Sexual Harassment

In the wake of the Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal, some conservatives are making outrageous and insulting statements about women who are sexual harassment victims. They ask, "Is there anyone who thinks sexual harassment is a real thing?" (National Review). "Experts" spout off nonsense like, "You know what sexual harassment is? You know what it really is? It's a political tool. . . . It's become an accredited way for malcontent women to score some money." (Rush Limbaugh) and "It always ends up being an employee who can't perform or who under-performs and is looking for a little green." (Laura Graham).

As an employment lawyer who has handled sexual harassment cases for 25 years, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: Yes, conservatives, there is sexual harassment. It's real. It happens every day. Twenty-nine percent of Americans say they've been sexually harassed at some point. And you don't want a world where it becomes legal.


Sexual harassment is almost never about sex. It's about power, plain and simple. Harassers, like rapists, like to exercise power over their victims. These are men (and sometimes women) who choose their victims carefully. They're sneaky. They know the danger of getting caught.

Read more in The Huffington Post. I'd love to see your comments there.

Thanks to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the Huffington Post!


  1. first of all, I'd like to say "good post, Donna" this is an issue that does need attention but we must also recognize that it is an issue that occurs in every part of society not just in the work place where the focus has been seen. with this said, here comes the firing squad. :)

    Words that should also be included:

    "As an employment lawyer who has handled sexual harassment cases for 25 years, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: Yes, liberals, there are false claims sexual harassment. It's real. It happens every day. Twenty-nine percent of Americans say they've been sexually harassed at some point. but what one says is not always a fact."

    now, Donna, is there anything in the above revision of your words false?

    if the words above are also true then i do want a world where sexual harassment is not illegal. and,as a lawyer you also know that this is not the same as legalizing it.

    and yes, it is about power. any political relationship is about power. it is also about the test of the strength of character of all parties concerned also.

    i want a world where power is concentrated in the individual and not the State as you are proposing. That is what individual liberty is all about. i don't want a world where the principle of "determinism" is the foundational premise of a society.

    there are far better ways to handle situations like this than through our court system. but before a person can understand this they must seek a world where free will is the foundational premise of a society.

    and as a side note before assumptions are made I'll add one more thing. i do not consider myself a "conservative". and yes, i do listen to Rush Limbaugh but i also listen to John Stewart too for their entertainment value.

    Have a good day.

  2. Well, Griper, based on that logic any legal claim that could be made based upon testimony, as opposed to written or circumstantial evidence, should not be illegal. A murder case based on eyewitness testimony? But some people lie. Let's make murder legal. A contract dispute based on what was said during the negotiation of the terms? Sorry, big companies. There's no claim.

    There are lots of types of cases that rely on witnesses, not just sexual harassment.

    Why are sexual harassment cases targeted for such venom? I believe it is because they are mostly women going against powerful men.

  3. Donna,
    I apologize for not getting back sooner with a response.

    nice closing argument :)

    your post was on a specific issue not an argument for or against the use of verbal testimony.

    in a murder case, there is physical evidence of a crime that has been committed. and any verbal testimony has to be consistent with the physical evidence.

    as for contracts, how many times have you told people to make sure any agreement must be written down (physical evidence). that in itself declares how little value verbal testimony is.

    and you know very well that verbal testimony is based upon memory and that memory is a very faulty basis of fact.

    and there is no doubt in my mind that as a lawyer you have questioned the memory of many a witness and found success in doing so for your clients.

    and sexual harassment is dependent solely upon verbal testimony both in determining that a law was broken as well as who was responsible.

    on top of that we have motive to consider. both sides will always question motive of their opponents witnesses. and there is no doubt that you have used this tactic many a time yourself to aid in getting a verdict favorable to your client.


I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.