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Sexual Harassment Charges Against a Wisconsin Legislator Prompt Call for Transparency

— April 18, 2022

Leadership and workplace culture may have positive impact on the reduction of sexual harassment in the workplace through harassment prevention efforts.

The Associated Press and three other Wisconsin media outlets recently won a lawsuit seeking records of a formal complaint related to sexual harassment allegations against a former legislator who propositioned an aide for sex, despite being married and their professional working relationship.  The AP, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sued in March 2020 after then-Assembly Chief Clerk Pat Fuller denied their open records requests seeking copies of the complaint against then-state Rep. Staush Gruszynski including documents related to the investigation.  A Dane County Circuit Judge ordered Assembly leaders to release un-redacted versions and stated the media outlets should file an affidavit seeking attorney fees and costs as well as any claims for damages. After a complaint indicates that matters are corrected “in house,” it is best to consult with a Madison sexual harassment lawyer who can guide legal action and build a case supported by the supposed lack of human resource policies that protect employees under Title VII from workplace and sexual harassment.  

Workplace policy

Workplace policy should be set and available for employees who need a safe path to address sexual misconduct related to their job.  An estimated three out of four employees who have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work do not even report it to their supervisor, or human resources department.  Victims should talk to sexual harassment attorneys in Wisconsin about  concerns of poor conduct by a person who may be controlling their work activities, including promotion and upward mobility outweighs inaction to a reported claim, concerns of transferred blame to employee, and social/ professional stigmatization and retaliation.

The victim should directly inform the harasser that their conduct is unwelcome and insist that it stops if they are not afraid. Employer policies should be available to protect workers and a victim should use any employer complaint mechanism, or grievance system available. The more information contained in the complaint including proof of the allegations where possible will give strength to claims taken to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A positive settlement award may be the result of a strong case presented by experienced legal counsel. 

Employer awareness

A group of people working together at a common area; image by Annie Sprat, via
A group of people working together at a common area; image by Annie Sprat, via

A sexual harassment law firm can explain tips toward prevention, as it is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint, or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. Sexual harassment lawyers can assist human resource departments as they develop and maintain standard operating work policies to support methods that deter sexual harassment in the workplace.  


Leadership and workplace culture may have positive impact on the reduction of sexual harassment in the workplace through harassment prevention efforts that include standard operating policies with outlined requirements of reporting, maintaining confidentiality and professionalism.  Management training must be geared toward reduction of workplace harassment versus the consequences of legal action and liability concerns and costs to employers.

Supervisors and other responsible department personnel who observe, are informed of, or reasonably suspect sexual harassment claims might be filed, should immediately report such incidents and initiate prompt investigation. Supervisors should take effective measures to ensure no further apparent, or alleged harassment of the victim occurs, pending completion of an EEOC investigation, or other legal action. Employers should attempt to maintain privacy of the alleged victim and harasser while a complaint is being investigated.  Necessary steps should also be taken to ensure that the employee victim is protected from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment in compliance with federal laws, and this may be done by consulting a sexual harassment attorney to monitor steps toward damage compensation and positive workplace change.



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