When there is no HR

She didn’t know what to do. At first, the young woman was happy to be part of a small, three-person, family-run business. But then the boss started coming on to her. He’d comment on her looks. He’d touch her shoulder. Finally, when his wife was away, he asked her to dinner.

The story is fictitious, but victims of harassment could face the same dilemma. Because of the size of the business in the story – fewer than five workers – the woman would have no legal recourse to complain about sexual harassment, other than filing suit or criminal charges against her boss. Or she could quit.

Due to a legal quirk, the smaller the size of a company in Virginia, the fewer resources a worker has to fight harassment, according to Ann Hodges, a law professor at the University of Richmond. Does it mean unequal rights under law? “It does,” Hodges says. Read More

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