Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
Injuries from Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is considered any sexual conduct or advances that offends, discomforts, or intimidates you in the work environment. Sexual harassment ranges from crude and inappropriate jokes to excessive viewing of pornography at work to sexual assault. While statistics show that it’s often targeted toward women, it can also happen to men and is not dependent on the victim’s sexual orientation. However mild or bad it is, sexual harassment is against the law and nobody deserves to be treated in such a way.
Federal and state laws prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you may be entitled to recover damages from your employer and the individuals involved. Sexual harassment can not only cost you your job, but it can take a serious toll on your emotional and physical health. Sexual harassment cases at large corporations have resulted in millions of dollars in settlements. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, talk to an experienced attorney for advice on how to proceed.
Tips on Dealing with Sexual Harassment
The following suggestions are intended to help you dead with sexual harassment concerns. However, this is not a substitute for talking to an experienced personal injury or civil rights attorney.
It may be painful, embarrassing or scary to confront your harasser, but it’s often an effective way to stop harassment that is limited to inappropriate jokes or teasing). Letting the harasser know that you are uncomfortable or offended by his or her behavior is a great first step, especially when determining if further legal action is necessary. If your request is denied and the harassment continues, consider writing a letter asking for the conduct to quit (and make sure you keep a copy for yourself). For more sever situations, talk to an attorney, your company’s human resources manager or law enforcement.
Alert your supervisor
Does your company handbook outline the procedure for dealing with discrimination or sexual harassment? If so, follow it and alert your supervisor. If human resources or middle management are unwilling to take action, work your way up the chain of command and keep careful documentation along the way. Although this step can be difficult and uncomfortable, it may be necessary. The U.S. Supreme Court has [case] stated that employees who do not make a formal sexual harassment complaint, thereby not allowing the company to do something about it, can lose their right to hold the company liable in a lawsuit.
Document, document, document
Like all other personal injury claims, it’s critical that you document the entire process from start to finish. Note exactly what happened to you, the effort you’ve put forth to stop it, to whom you reported, and all other relevant information. The more detail, the better. These facts may be useful if you end up in front of a company review panel, a regulatory body, the police or a jury. Evidence of sexual harassment might include voice recordings (such as voice mail), text messages, personal journal entries, witnesses, and so on.
Complain to a government agency
You can notify the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of sexual harassment. In fact, it’s often required to file a complaint with the EEOC before starting a lawsuit. Explore your state’s statutes to see if any further governmental action is required. The EEOC may issue you a “right-to-sue” letter, which will allow you to take action in court with you own personal injury lawyer.
You don’t have to figure this out all on your own. An experienced sexual harassment or personal injury attorney can guide you through the process and make a stressful situation more manageable.