Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Work is a place where an individual spends most of their life. Having a healthy work environment and great colleagues can make the workplace fun. But it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are sexually harassed at work. Hostile working conditions can take a toll on your mental and physical health and make you significantly unproductive. But you don’t need to suffer silently. Sexual harassment is a punishable and illegal offense. You have the right to voice your concern against workplace sexual harassment and demand justice. There are federal, state, and local laws that have been laid down to protect employees from unwanted sexual advances and demands. Sexual harassment attorneys are well-versed with these laws and can help add strength to your voice against injustice at your workplace.

What Classifies as Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment at workplaces can take many different forms. The perpetrator can be anyone from a supervisor to a manager or a customer. Sexual harassment is typically described as unsolicited or unwanted sexual advances or conduct of sexual nature such as groping, touching verbal abuse, demeaning, or offensive comments that may or may not have job-related implications for the individual being subjected to the harassment. Subjecting the victim to a hostile working environment by insulting or demeaning them due to their sexual orientation or preferences can also be considered sexual harassment.

To understand it better, workplace sexual harassment can be classified into two types:

Hostile Work Environment

You can be subject to a hostile work environment in the following ways:

  1. A co-worker or a colleague makes unwanted sexual advances towards you by targeting you with unwelcoming sexually suggestive comments, demeaning remarks, incessant unwelcome requests for dates, offensive gestures, jokes or pranks, offensive touching, intimidating behavior, or sharing pornographic content. Such instances can hurt your ability to work and impact your productivity.
  2. The other way you can be subjected to a hostile work environment is when your employer discriminates against you due to your gender or sexual orientation and preferences. Discrimination can manifest in lower wages, project allocation, hiring procedures, work schedules, vacation benefits, termination, etc.

Quid Pro Quo

You are subjected to quid pro quo sexual harassment if a supervisor or a manager or anyone above you demands or asks for sexual contact in return for a promotion or any other employment benefits. It is still considered harassment if you deny the offer or have sexual contact fearing you will lose your job.

Sexual Harassment Laws

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes sexual harassment illegal across the United States. The law deems sexual harassment of employees by anyone at work illegal regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. Title VII is specifically designed for employers. Under the law, employers are considered to be responsible for providing a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. This means that the law deems it illegal for employers to allow harassment to occur and stop it once they know it is happening. Title VII, therefore, gives you the right to sue your employer under whose watch the harassment occurred.

You may feel like you are jeopardizing your job or risking your employment by speaking up for sexual harassment at the workplace. But you are protected by law as it is illegal for an employer or anyone at work to retaliate or punish you for speaking against harassment. When an HR representative or boss is informed about harassment, they must take prompt action and stop it. If instead, they retaliate by giving you a pay cut, shifting your location, assigning you a different position, demoting you, firing you, or in any other way that makes your work or life suffer, then you have the right to take legal action against your employer.

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, the first step you are required to take is to file a complaint with a federal or local government agency. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for taking citizens’ complaints against workplace sexual harassment at the federal level. However, there are strict deadlines or statutes of limitations for filing a complaint. The deadline varies from state to state but typically lies in the range of 180 days to 300 days from when the last act of harassment took place. Filing a complaint is important because without that you won’t be allowed to sue your employer. After filing a complaint, you receive a right to sue notice that allows you to file a lawsuit against your employer.

What Can You Achieve by Filing a Lawsuit?

Each case is different and needs to be evaluated by a legal expert. According to the details of your case and your circumstances, you can demand reinstatement or compensation. Here is what you can demand when filing a lawsuit against your employer:

  1. Compensation: If speaking against your employer costs you your job or got you demoted, then you can demand compensation for lost wages. Besides this, you are also entitled to demand compensation for any medical expenses you incur or expect to incur due to sexual harassment. You are also entitled to demand compensation for the emotional distress the sexual harassment incidents may have caused you. These damages include loss of sleep, anxiety, stress, damage to reputation, or loss of fun and enjoyment.
  2. Reinstatement: If speaking up against harassment got you fired, then you can demand to get reinstated to your job.
  3. Punitive Damages: If you can prove that the employer showed an indifferent and reckless attitude towards your complaints, you can get the court or jury to order the employer to pay punitive damages. These damages are meant to act as a punishment and deter the employer from committing the same mistake in the future.
  4. Force Your Employer to Change Policies: You can get the court to order the employer to change their policies and drive them to make the workplace a safer and healthy place to work in.

Why Hire a Sexual Harassment Attorney?

Hiring a sexual harassment attorney can help you in the following ways:

  • A sexual harassment lawyer is well-versed with the intricacies of federal, state, and local laws. An expert sexual harassment attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process effectively
  • A sexual harassment attorney can help you evaluate your case and understand the odds of winning the case and receiving damages.
  • Sexual harassment lawyers can help you file complaints with state and federal agencies and obtain the right to sue notice easily.
  • A sexual harassment attorney will help you obtain evidence and build a strong case. This is crucial as employers may try and turn the tables on you and push you in the corner. With a sexual harassment attorney working in your best interests, you can safeguard your rights and interests.
  • Most sexual harassment attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay any fees upfront. Besides this, you can demand attorney fees in your lawsuit and receive it as a part of the compensation if you win the case.

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