This post started out as an update to my article on allegations of abuse in the Feldenkrais Guild training community. But then I decided to publish it as a stand-alone article. The question I am trying to understand is where and how would a Feldenkrais student or practitioner file a harassment lawsuit. I am operating under the assumption that the Feldenkrais Guild's internal processes for handling harassment complaints are impotent and ineffective.
How do sexual harassment lawsuits work?
Reading an article online called, What to Expect from a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit, I was struck by the fact that the main domain for many harassment lawsuits is employer/employee litigation. For example, when an employee sues an employer for not stopping unwanted advances or harassing behavior. The harassing behavior might come from the owner of the business or another employee.
However, in the case of the Feldenkrais allegations, what has been shared with me are incidents regarding trainers and a trainer organizer harassing a student, assistant trainer, or practitioner.
That makes me wonder what laws apply and how to go about seeking redress and compensation. A student in a Feldenkrais training program is clearly not an employee. How does he or she initiate a lawsuit and against who? I have a similar question for Assistant Trainers. Are they considered employees of the training institute? And who would they sue if they are alleging abuse?
Who is liable for a Feldenkrais Trainer's behavior? Could a Feldenkrais student sue the organization or institute that hired the trainer? Could they sue the trainer directly? Could a student sue the organization that certified the training? What if an organization such as the Feldenkrais Guild or a training and accreditation board knew about allegations of abuse for many years, perhaps even decades? Could those organizations be sued for not stopping the abuse or not decertifying a trainer, assistant trainer?
Those are some of the questions that popped into my head this morning as I thought about this issue. If you have any legally grounded opinions on the matter or know of any resources please let me know in the comments below?