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Can music at the workplace add up to sexual discrimination?

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Under these rules, most employers implement company policies against sexual harassment, to mitigate against such litigation. But music has remained a grey area, leaving employers vulnerable to litigation, Mausert says. 

“Almost everybody I sue has a [sexual harassment] policy,” he said. “The smart ones never get sued, because they take the policy seriously, because you want to have a healthy working community, and sexual harassment breeds in the dark.”

Exacerbating what might already be a potentially problematic situation is the statistically high likelihood that a proportion of a female workforce will already have experienced sexual harassment in some form, says Mausert –81% of women in the US report experiencing sexual harassment or assault in their lifetimes, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC),.

In the Reno S&S warehouse, women comprised about half of the workforce, according to the panel’s report.

“Employers don’t understand how prevalent the problem is,” said Mausert. “If you’ve got a bunch of women in the workplace, you’ve probably got 30, 40, or an even higher percentage of those women have been sexually abused one way or another, or raped. And somebody thinks it’s funny to play a song that glorifies rape, or subjugation of women. [The women are] going to work and they’re being re-traumatized on a daily basis. And that’s a great way to get yourself sued.”

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