When many people in New York City think of Anita Hill, they think of a woman sitting in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee answering personal questions about her relationship with her former boss, Clarence Thomas. It is relatively rare for someone’s work relationship to be broadcast so publically, but Thomas was up for an open seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. Before his nomination could be confirmed by the Senate, however, the senators wanted to hear Hill’s testimony.
Hill spoke about the numerous sexual comments Thomas had allegedly made and the fact that he repeatedly asked her out and showed her pornography. Although the senators heard the testimony, they focused on Hill, her credibility and why she would stay under Thomas’s authority for so long. Thomas was eventually confirmed, but Hill was able to prompt a frank discussion about workplace sexual harassment.
There are still some people who question Hill’s testimony, believing that if she had truly been harassed, she would have found a job somewhere else. What these people fail to realize, however, is that it is never the responsibility of the person being harassed to leave and find a new job. And just because someone doesn’t leave doesn’t mean what he or she is saying is not true.
What someone in this situation can do, however, is seek out the guidance of an employment law attorney. Even if filing a lawsuit is not the most appropriate option, knowing one’s legal rights is a good start to ending workplace sexual harassement.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Clarence Thomas vs Anita Hill: She’s still telling the truth,” Robin Abcarian, March 12, 2014