French lawmakers have a passed a new sexual harassment law making penalties for offenders tougher which could actually land a person in jail and fine them up to 30,000 Euros ($37,000).
The new law was changed after a lawmaker, who was accused of sexually harassing three female employees, complained that the current law was too vague.
The new law is significantly more far-reaching requiring the worst offenders, those who harass people under the age of 15, or people who are physically disabled or ill, can face up to two years in jail.
Under the old law, sexual harassment was limited to “obtaining favors of a sexual nature and carried a penalty of one year in jail. But the law change redefines harassment as “imposing on someone, in a repeated way, words or actions that have a sexual connotation,” and “affecting the person’s dignity because of their degrading or humiliating behavior” or putting a man or woman “in an intimidating or hostile or offensive situation,” according to the New York Times.
This move was widely praised by feminists in the country who say that gender inequalities and sexism make France a breeding ground for sexual harassment.
Though the U.S. Passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prevent employees from harassment and discrimination, the problem of sexual harassment is still rampant in the workplace. Many employers face federal suits because they fail to prevent this misconduct.
In the U.S. most individuals accused of sexual harassment don’t face criminal charges, but they are vulnerable to civil lawsuit. Many of the victims of this abuse look to sexual harassment lawyers in order to halt the behavior and receive compensation for their distress.