Sexual harassment can be a difficult subject. Many times, victims of sexual harassment feel too humiliated and offended to report their harassers. But it is important to remember that the harasser is the person at fault. Massachusetts and federal law protect employees against sexual harassment in the workplace and there are ample legal remedies available when an employer or coworker crosses the line. There are two main types of sexual harassment. First, quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer predicates employment or advancement in the workplace on unwanted sexual favors or when an employer threatens to retaliate against an employee who complains against sexual harassment. The second type of sexual harassment, hostile work environment sexual harassment, occurs when an employer or coworker makes the workplace uncomfortable through inappropriate touching, unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate sexual jokes or requests for sexual favors.
A former Google employee has publicly accused two of her former Google supervisors of sexual harassment. Kelly Ellis worked as a software engineer at Google for four years before leaving for another company last July. Months after leaving the major company, Ellis came out on Twitter accusing Google of doing nothing to stop her two supervisors who allegedly made inappropriate and unwelcome sexual advances towards her.
After tweeting about maintaining her self-respect, Ellis followed up with this message: “Rod Chavez is an engineering director at Google, he sexually harassed me, Google did nothing about it. Reprimanded me instead of him.” Short and to the point, her allegation made news. As reported by NBC Bay Area News, Chavez denied having much contact with Ellis during her time at Google. After making a short statement, he ended the phone call stating he needed to check with Google before speaking to the press further.
The second Google supervisor coming under scrutiny is Vic Gundotra, the former vice president of engineering and head of Google+. According to BuzzFeed, Chavez allegedly told Ellis, “It’s taking all of my self control not to grab your [buttocks] right now.” In another incident, Gundotra commented on how Ellis looked in a bathing suit. Google has not commented on the alleged harassment.