Workplace sexual harassment thrives on embarrassment. The perpetrator feels that the victim will be too embarrassed to report inappropriate behavior, and so feels free to continue harassing the victim. Even those who do go ahead and report the harassment often feel ashamed or humiliated by something that wasn't their fault. For this and other reasons, California courts sometimes allow plaintiffs in sexual harassment lawsuits remain anonymous in official documents.
This practice came up for debate recently in a lawsuit filed against the chief of staff of a member of the Los Angeles City Council. A former employee of the council member's office sued the city, claiming that she was forced to quit her job due to discrimination and repeated harassment by the chief of staff. She claims that he repeatedly made inappropriate jokes and comments of a sexual nature.
Court filings have protected the woman's anonymity by referring to her only as "Jane Doe." City attorneys argue that her identity should not be protected. In court papers, they argued that when the defendant is the government, it is especially important that legal proceedings must be transparent and open to the public.
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex or gender. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited. California laws also provide protections against sexual harassment.
Despite these protections, those who have suffered wrongful termination due to sexual discrimination or sexual harassment face many hurdles before they can see justice done through the court system. Los Angeles attorneys with experience in these difficult cases can help those who have suffered due to sexual harassment in the workplace to understand their rights and assess their legal options.
Source: Post-Periodical, "City Attorneys: Accuser Should Disclose Name," May 13, 2014