Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Gender imbalance, culture and rights discussed at Women’s Council event
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Focusing on employee rights, legal and institutional remedies, and the broader implication of workplace  
harassment, the ILR Alumni Association Women's Council led a seminar on sexual harassment June 28.
 
The event, "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Know Your Rights," was attended by more than 50 ILR alumni and students and featured alumni panelists from law and human resources. It was held at the ILR New York City Conference Center.

Issues such as gender imbalance and the workplace culture that sometimes allows or encourages harassment were addressed by the panelists.

Panelists included Laurie Berke-Weiss ’71, Vanessa Matsis-McCready ’04 and Nancy Sverdlik ’79.  
 
Berke-Weiss, principal and founder of Berke-Weiss Law PLLC, is a litigator whose experience includes workplace harassment and wrongful termination claims.

Matsis-McCready works as an assistant general counsel and human resources consultant at Engage PEO, a human resource consulting agency for mid-size businesses pursuing HR solutions and mediation for workplace issues.

Sverdlik is president and founder of Dabe Mija, an HR consulting firm that leads investigations into employment law or policy violations.  
 
Dawn Levy-Weinstein ‘88, chair of the council, hosted the event saying, "Unfortunately, sexual harassment is a fact of life at many workplaces and employees often do not know what to do it when it occurs. It is detrimental to employees in the workplace and contravenes the mission of the ILR School, which is to improve the world of work and working lives."
 
Panelists, in responding to concerns and questions, urged attendees to document uncomfortable occurrences and try to go through institutional procedures before pursuing legal action.  
 
Sexual harassment and gender differences in the workplace are among issues researched by ILR School faculty and staff. KC Wagner, director of Workplace Issues for ILR, has worked with workers and union leaders to bring awareness to the detriments of sexual harassment and domestic violence in the workplace and on individuals.

Her research on issues of work-life-gender balance, sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence includes “Ending Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work in the United States,” submitted to the United Nations Commission on Women this year.