Are you a victim of sexual harassment at your workplace? People who suffered sexual harassment at the workplace and for the reason they experience severe changes at their jobs should know that legal help is available.
Lawyers for sexually harassed victims can help claim compensation for their loss such as loss of integrity, respect, or an expected position. If you are one of them, you should contact a sexual harassment attorney for your complaint and file a lawsuit against the potential offender.
Under Civil Rights ACT 1964, Title VII of the Federal Law states gender discrimination is prohibited and illegal at the workplace. That means discrimination of employees based on gender is prohibited under federal law.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, before you opt for legal actions against your offender, it is important to have a proper understanding of the laws of sexual harassment. Additionally, you must know what steps you should take to develop an effective case.
Sexual harassment at the workplace
The term sexual harassment is defined as a variety of unwelcoming experiences. At the workplace, it is defined as requests for favors physically or sexually and sexually suggestive verbal or physical behavior.
To be legally acknowledged, sexual harassment must be severe enough that it changed the condition or the nature of your job or employment. It is also termed as ‘quid quo pro’ which occurs when an opportunity is discriminated against or conditioned on a sexual favor exchange. It also needs to understand that the behavior of the offender doesn’t have to be sexual all the time to be referred to as sexual harassment, it can be offensive remarks or comments that correlate with sex.
Forms of sexual harassment
The majority of legal cases are connected with two types of sexual harassment forms: hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassment.
A hostile work environment occurs when the hostility based on gender or the sexual behaviors of the offender(s) makes your work environment unbearable. Unwelcoming sexual verbal and physical advances, and sexual conduct including inappropriate behaviors instigate a suffocating environment that makes it hard to work and change the terms of your employment.
In terms of law, the court will examine several things when it comes to determining the hostile environment at the workplace. This may include:
- The position of the coworker (offender), whether he/she is superior or junior
- The occurrence of the behavior
- If other coworkers or employees took part in the harassment
- How many workers were harassed
Quid Pro Quo Harassment, on the other hand, refers to the exchange of sexual favor. It is also defined as ‘this for that’ in the legal dictionary. It happens when an employer’s decision is based on the applicant’s/employee’s sexual advances.
For instance, your manager could demand a sexual favor in return for approval of your promotion application or a raise. This favor of sexual conduct is obvious sometimes or can be discreetly implied.
What comes under sexual harassment?
Several circumstances at the workplace can fall under sexual harassment. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be sexual all the time, it can be offensive behaviors or unwanted comments that someone could write online.
These behaviors may include but are not limited to:
- Being abusive verbally or saying things that are sexual
- Sending emails that contain cheesy sexual content
- Holding or grabbing showing sexual intimacy
- Standing too close, rubbing and brushing frequently to someone
- Frequently show gestures to deliver intention of hanging out after work (this is especially related to supervisors when they pressurize employees to date or socialize after work).
- Making suggestive gestures frequently.
It is not necessarily important that the offender or harasser is a man, men can also be the victim of harassment from women coworkers and managers at work.
What steps should you follow if you are being sexually harassed?
If you are sexually harassed at your workplace, there’s so much that you can do to bring the harasser under legal remedies, but of course, that may not be easy. This is because sexual harassment in the workplace can disturb your mental health, plus, it can also negatively affect your performance at work. But you can;
File a sexual harassment claim against the harasser
If you want to file a complaint with EEOC – The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which works under federal law and enforces anti-discrimination in employment – you must file your case within 180 days (6 months). The date of submitting a complaint of sexual harassment may vary from one state to another, and possibly you have up to 300 days to file the complaint when the harassment was made.
In case, where you want to pursue your case with a sexual harassment attorney, it would even help you if you file your case with EEOC. TITLE VII of the Civil Rights Act 1064 also states that a victim should file a complaint at EEOC before moving to the legal remedies or filing a lawsuit against the harasser.
However, if you contact a sexual harassment attorney within the 180 days’ timeframe, he will guide you for the process to proceed in a legal way.
How can a sexual harassment attorney help you?
Lawyers for sexually harassed victims can guide you on how you can make your case effective. Plus, if you decide to go with EEOC for your case, it would be even beneficial to work with a sexual harassment attorney.
A workplace sexual harassment attorney will work with you to evaluate the case and to determine if your case meets the requirements set by federal and state laws. They may consider scenarios such as:
If the conduct;
- Was unwelcoming or offensive
- Was sexual
- Was intimidating
- Was committed for quid quo pro
- Was done by a superior or coworker
- Was reported formally or exhaustively
A sexual harassment attorney will also consider the losses you bear, such as loss of employment, fame, credibility, or a position that you were expecting. Furthermore, if you are seeking compensation for these losses, documented proof or credible witnesses would also be required to prove your claim.
As said, proving sexual harassment would not be an easy task to do, but that doesn’t mean that you silently live with it. If you think you are being sexually victimized by your coworkers or your superiors, seek legal help and ask for compensation for your damages.
If you have further questions or need consultation then you can contact us any time.
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