I want to circle back quickly to this idea of overreach. This is a myth that seems to continue to be perpetuated by people in this space who maybe don’t have access to the data on this. . . False accusations are in the 1-2% range versus the enormous amount of underreporting that still happens.”Attorney Laura Noble on Canadian Broadcast Corporation – CBC News
On February 25th, attorney Laura Noble spoke on CBC News Network, answering viewer questions about the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein trial. Weinstein was found guilty of rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act the day before, on February 24th.
Noble was part of a panel discussion with Cathy Young, a reporter and editor at Reason Magazine, and David Butt, a Toronto criminal lawyer who specializes in sexual assault cases.
Noble works with the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and one of our areas of focus here at The Noble Law is workplace harassment, which includes sexual harassment.
Noble responded to the verdict and how it relates to the #MeToo movement. She also rebutted claims made by Cathy Young that the #MeToo movement goes too far and has opened the possibility of overreach and that the #MeToo movement “has swept up men.” Noble deftly recentered the conversation on the women, citing a national study from the University of San Diego that found that false accusations are in the 1-2% range versus the enormous amount of underreporting that still happens.
Noble followed up this statement later in the conversation by saying,
“I think that when you focus on the things that are an aberration, versus what happens daily to women in the workplace, particularly low-income women and women of color, I think you are doing a disservice to those women.”
Since the launch of the #MeToo movement, there has been much more attention to problems of sexual harassment and assault in the broader culture and in the workplace. Awareness is an important part of social change, but progress also needs to be made in improving conviction rates. Women are still afraid to come forward because of the very real possibility of retaliation, retribution, and blacklisting.
Here at The Noble Law, we are fierce advocates for our clients who are victims of workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and workplace assault in both New York City and the Triangle Region. #MeToo has opened conversations, like this one on CBC, about sexual harassment and assault. More people are contacting employment lawyers like Laura Noble and The Noble Law team. Hopefully increased reporting and focus on this issue will result in more convictions like the Weinstein conviction. Continue reading to see the full transcript of Noble’s portion of the conversation and if you’d like to watch the interview in full, you can find it here.
Transcript of Laura Noble’s contribution to the conversation:
As a former prosecutor, I’m certainly pleased that the jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty on two felony counts. These are extraordinarily difficult cases to prove, particularly in the criminal context, where the standard of proof is higher. So it’s a great win for the brave women who came forward and for the prosecutors.
In terms of the #MeToo movement, I think it does send a powerful message that men who sexually assault or harass women in the workplace, regardless of how powerful or wealthy they are, are going to be held accountable. And that’s a very positive change that we’ve seen as a result of the advocates and victims involved in the #MeToo movement.
First I want to circle back quickly to this idea of overreach. This is a myth that seems to continue to be perpetuated by people in this space who maybe don’t have access to the data on this. The University of San Diego did a national study last year and again reported what multiple studies have reported, that false accusations are in the 1-2% range versus the enormous amount of underreporting that still happens. And as my colleague just pointed out, the Harvey Weinstein case was well-known by everyone, and yet these women still felt overwhelming fear of retaliation, retribution, blacklisting if they came forward. So the idea that there’s been some sort of overreach, to me, is a disservice to what the data actually says and to the experience of the women.
Except that the laws have not changed. Title 7 the federal law has a very high standard and it has not changed in the #MeToo movement. Most state laws have not changed. You’re not going to be able to prove those claims of sexual harassment and discrimination as you have described — some person thinking that they’ve been emotionally abused some months later — and I think that when you focus on the things that are an aberration, versus what happens daily to women in the workplace, particularly low-income women and women of color, I think you are doing a disservice to those women.
The Noble Law – Employment Law Firm
Here at The Noble Law, we’re committed to educating our communities in North Carolina and New York City about employment law and their rights in the workplace. We believe part of our job as an employment law firm is to share our expertise with others and we do so with our employment law videos, employment law resources, and here on Noble notes.