Local law firm seeing fewer sexual harassment cases

An avalanche of high-profile sexual harassment claims does not seem to be representative of what’s happening in St. Louis workplaces, according to a local law firm.

Dobson, Goldberg, Berns and Rich is on the front line of sexual harassment cases.  The law firm has been representing clients for decades.  Attorney Jonathan Berns believes the workplace atmosphere at St. Louis area companies has improved during the past 10 to 20 years.

“I think it’s more of a problem at the celebrity level,” he said.

Berns said businesses have done a good job educating workers and punishing offenders.  He believes those actions send a message to workers that inappropriate behavior has consequences.

It’s smaller, family owned businesses were Berns says he’s currently seeing reports of harassment.  He said a culture of harassment can also be found in some governmental agencies.  He cited a recent sexual harassment scandal in the Missouri Department of Corrections as an example.

Berns is also concerned about a recent change in Missouri law that he says gives the accused more protections.  The legislation was touted by supporters as a way to make Missouri more business friendly.