When Andrew Clinger resigned from his job as Reno’s city manager in the fall, 2016, he had been accused by three female co-workers of sexual harassment. The city reviewed the charges and said there was no justification for the claims.
The women have since left the city, and Clinger dodged what could surely have been a vocation stopping complaint.
Another current case, this one in Nye County, Nevada, involves the Nye County Sheriff’s Office which is facing two separate federal lawsuits from deputies that allege a pattern of hostile work environment spanning years as sexual harassment.
In the Nye County case, the harassment went back years. Lawsuits were filed after the deputies involved were unsuccessful in getting a decision from Nye County’s human resource department.
One of the victims, a sergeant in the sheriff’s department, Kelly Jackson, claims she encountered explicit and ongoing sexual harassment which involved obscene verbal abuse, improper emails on her work account, being exposed to porn on job computers and solicited for sex. Jackson’s complaint also states she was cornered, groped and fondled by male colleagues.
In 2013, Jackson registered complaints with human resources and the EEOC about Antonio Medina, a past officer and a listed defendant in the suit.
“This is the single most outrageous example of workplace sexual harassment that I’ve seen in my career,” said Las Vegas attorney Nicholas Wooldridge.
Fog Around Sexual Harassment
Despite most workplaces providing sexual harassment training through their Human Resources office, there’s still a lot of fog around the issue in many places.
In Nevada, like other states, sexual harassment is a type of discrimination which also may elevate to criminal activity as it violates US law under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as Nevada State law.
Something is granted for something. A person could be promised a promotion, for example, if they provide sexual favors for their boss. On the other hand, if a worker rejects a boss’s sexual advances and is terminated, they are apt to have experienced sexual harassment.
This is the second sort of harassment. In a antagonistic workplace, unwelcome verbal and/or bodily contact prevents the victim from doing their job or generates an offensive or threatening work environment.
Nevada State Law
Nevada’s Equal Rights Commission (NERC) explains sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual overtures, demands for sexual favors and verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature.
The NERC spells out the victim as not having to be of the opposing sex. The victim is not invariably the person bothered either. The victim could be anybody impacted by a hostile work environment.
The harasser’s behavior must be uninvited and can be the victim’s director, a supervisor from different job center, a colleague or even a non-employee. Some of Nevada’s claims have been generated from employees complaining about casino customers. Regardless, the employee is shielded by both state and national law against retaliation.
Sexual harassment rises to a criminal level when one of three unlawful offenses occur:
Peering, peeping or spying into a dwelling
It is a criminal act to willfully go to a person’s home in order to secretly gaze, peep or view through a windowpane or opening.
Stalking is the attempt to force contact, or communication, with someone while causing them to feel scared for their safety or the safety of their family.
Harassment as sexual harassment
Using words or conduct to knowingly threaten another person with harm so they reasonably fear the threat will be carried out. The perceived threat could be:
- Bodily injury
- Property loss
- Bodily restraint
- Anything meant to undermine the victim’s safety