How To Defend Your Rights After Being Sexually Harassed At Work
No one should have to endure sexual harassment at work. However, you have options and rights if you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment. This article will discuss what you can do to defend your rights after being sexually harassed at work.
Know what your rights are
You have rights under state and federal law if you’ve been sexually harassed at work. These laws protect you from retaliation if you report the harassment, and they provide remedies if you’ve been harassed. It is best to seek a reputable law office or an experienced lawyer’s advice on your rights and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
Under federal law, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees and prohibits discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, pay, and benefits.
State laws vary, but most have their version of Title VII that protects employees from sexual harassment. Like California, the rules are even more protective than federal law in some states.
Understand what is sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. It can include things like unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, lewd comments or jokes, displaying pornography, and physical assault.
There are two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo occurs when someone in a position of power, like a boss or supervisor, conditions a job benefit on sexual favors. For example, if your boss tells you that you need to have sex with him to keep your job or get a promotion, that’s quid pro quo harassment.
A hostile work environment occurs when the conduct is so severe or pervasive that it creates an abusive working environment. This can include constant leering, suggestive comments, or unwanted touching. The behavior doesn’t have to be directed at you specifically – it can be directed at anyone in the workplace.
Report the incident to your employer
If you are being sexually harassed at work, you should first report it to your employer. This is important for two reasons: first, they are required by law to take measures to stop the harassment from happening; and second, if the harassment does continue, you will have a record of having reported it, which can be helpful evidence if you decide to take legal action later on.
If your employer doesn’t take action or the harassment continues, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces Title VII. You can also file a state equivalent of an EEOC charge if your state has its anti-discrimination law. You must file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the last instance of harassment, but it’s best to do it as soon as possible.
Once you’ve filed a charge, the EEOC will investigate and decide whether there is enough evidence to support your claim. If the EEOC finds enough evidence, they may try to settle you and your employer. They may file a lawsuit on your behalf if they can’t agree.
You also have the right to file your lawsuit in federal or state court, but you must do so within one year of the last instance of harassment.
What are some possible remedies?
If you win your sexual harassment case, there are several possible remedies that the court may award. These include:
- Reinstatement: If you were fired or demoted because of the harassment, the court might order your employer to reinstate you to your former position.
- Back pay: The court may order your employer to pay you back for any lost wages or benefits you suffered from the harassment.
- Front pay: If you can’t be reinstated to your former position, the court may order your employer to pay you for the wages you would have earned if you had not been harassed.
- Compensatory damages: The court may award you money for any emotional distress or mental anguish you suffered because of the harassment.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, the court may order your employer to pay punitive damages to punish them for their misconduct.
Take legal action
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, you may consider taking legal action. This could include filing a lawsuit against your employer or the offender or filing a charge with the EEOC.
Before taking any legal action, you must speak with an experienced attorney to help you understand your rights and options. They can also help you gather evidence and build a strong case.
Sexual harassment is a serious issue, and you must know that you have options if it happens to you. Reporting it to your employer and taking legal action can help stop the harassment and hold the responsible parties accountable.
If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, it’s essential to know your rights and options. An experienced employment lawyer can help you understand the laws in your state and advise you on the best course of action.