Find An Employment Attorney For Sexual Harassment
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During the 90s, the United States started to see the number of sexual harassment at work cases increase, and in turn many new laws were created in order to protect individuals from sexual predators and from being sexually harassed at work. You can discuss the details of your case to better understand the new laws put in place with a sexual harassment attorney.
Sexual harassment at work can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
How do I know if I qualify for a sexual harassment case?
- The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
- The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
- The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
- Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
- The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex.
Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
Unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. These all qualify as sexual harassment at work and should be discussed with an employment attorney.
Who Can Sue
Depending on who was harassing employees and the type of harassment, individuals can be legally responsible for the sexual harassment against their employees.
If someone is harassed by a co-worker and if the employer was aware of the harassment or should have known about the incident ,they can be held liable if not corrected immediately.
The employer can be held liable if the employee is sexually harassed by a supervisor and results in an action against the victim (such as, demotion, firing, or unfavorable changes in work assignments).
A hostile work environment can also make an employer liable if the employer cannot prove that they took steps to correct the sexual harassment problem.
What Can I Do If I Believe I am Being Sexually Harassed?
- Get the message across to the harasser, hold them accountable. Be specific, strait forward and blunt.
- Document the event including as many details as possible including date, time, witnesses, E-mail, etc. If it is legal to tape record others with a hidden tape recorder, record as much as you can.
- Keep track of any negative actions due to the refusal of sexual advances such as a demotion.
- Document if quality of work or school performance changes due to the sexual harassment
- File any grievances through the appropriate channels either at school or work
- Try to find others who have had similar experiences and see if they will support or join in the complaint.
- Keep notes of meetings and phone conferences, and document any retaliation.
- Stay composed and professional during the entire process, try not to let emotions get in the way
Laws vary from state to state and from state and federal levels, so it is important to consult a qualified sexual harassment attorney for any questions pertaining to specific sexual harassment state laws.
Read More About Who Can Sue For Sexual Harassment
One famous sexual harassment case had a movie made about it called “North Country” which was based on the case of Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Company. In this case, Jenson and other employees at the Eveleth Taconite mine in Minnesota were regularly harassed by male workers in a sexual threatening manner during the 70s and 80s.
When Jenson first filed a complaint, her car tires were slashed and the company refused to pay for new tires. Through various hearings and trials that lasted well into the 1990s, Jenson and others eventually settled with the Eveleth Taconite Co. for $3.5 million dollars.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.
- Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.
- It is helpful for the victim to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.
- Companies can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.
- It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on sex or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.
Some of the biggest sexual harassment cases in the United States include:
- In 2000, the Army's highest-ranking female Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy insists that she was inappropriately "fondled" by a male officer. After reporting the incident, the male officer was promoted instead of being punished, as Kennedy had hoped.
- In 1998, Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million to female workers at the Normal, Illinois plant where the work environment was anything but normal. In fact, the company was charged with allowing a hostile setting for women since at least 1990. In addition to the $34 million, Mitsubishi paid out several more million in individual suits.
- Former Republican Sen. Bob Packwood who, according to CBS News, allegedly harassed 29 women through "groping, forced kissing and propositioning sex." The Senate's Ethics Committee was able to prove 17 of the 29 incidents, and Packwood resigned from his senatorial seat.