The news that Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his Latina housekeeper has raised plenty of interesting questions related to divorce, child support and custody, and prenuptial agreements. One other issue that deserves greater scrutiny in the context of this case is the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. If a boss and employee are involved in a “romantic” or sexual relationship, do the laws of sexual harassment apply?
The laws defining sexual harassment in the workplace are suitably ambiguous when it comes to consensual relationships in the workplace. In other words, federal anti-harassment laws do not specifically forbid a romantic relationship between an employer and an employee. However, much of this may hinge on whether the sexual advances made by the employer were welcomed by the employee.
It's not that easy to define whether sexual advances were unwelcome. For instance, an employee may be uncomfortable with an employer’s sexual advances, but may not have protested or resisted at the time. Even in such cases, the employee may be able to prove later in a sexual harassment lawsuit that the employer’s advances were highly unwelcome.
It's also likely that an employee - like a Latina housekeeper who desperately needs the job - may not be in a position to resist an employer’s overtures. Such a relationship is always skewed with the balance titling heavily in favor of the employer. However, Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers would advise those who are currently facing sexual advances from their employer, to resist and protest these advances. Being silent and going along with things just keep your job may not work to your favor during a sexual harassment lawsuit. Lawyers for defendants may try to argue that you did not report the advances, signifying that they were welcome. Also, sexual harassment laws often don't apply to domestic help like housekeepers and nannies who work in a household.