Whether verbal, physical, or visual, sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that harms many people across the country. It creates a hostile work environment and prevents victims from performing their duties effectively.
If you suffer sexual harassment at work, you may be able to file a claim for compensation against your employer. However, it can be challenging to know if the sexual harassment you experienced is a suable offense.
Understanding how sexual harassment claims work can help you take appropriate action and seek justice with the help of an employment law attorney at Fieger Law.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Different types of sexual harassment can occur in the workplace, including:
- Verbal harassment: Verbal harassment includes sexual comments, jokes, innuendos, or propositions face-to-face or over the phone.
- Physical harassment: Physical harassment involves physical contact of a sexual nature, such as touching, grabbing, or blocking someone’s movement. Physical harassment can also include indecent exposure or assault.
- Visual harassment: Visual harassment occurs when a person displays sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or gestures, such as sexually explicit images on the workplace bulletin board or as a desktop background on a work computer.
- Quid pro quo harassment: This harassment refers to making job benefits or employment conditions contingent upon submitting to sexual demands. For example, a supervisor may offer a promotion in exchange for sexual favors or threaten to fire an employee if they do not comply with sexual demands.
- Online harassment: This type of harassment involves sending sexual messages, emails, or images through work-related communication platforms, such as work email and instant messaging. It also includes cyberstalking or cyberbullying of a sexual nature on social media.
- Retaliation: This type of harassment involves negative job consequences, such as demotion or termination, due to rejecting or reporting sexual harassment. Retaliation can take many forms, including being passed over for promotions, being assigned to less desirable shifts or duties, or being subjected to verbal or physical abuse.
Steps in Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint
If you have suffered sexual harassment or have been terminated as a result of refusing sexual overtures or reporting sexual harassment, you can take steps to prove your damages and win compensation. With the help of our compassionate and skilled attorneys at Fieger Law, we can help you hold your employer or co-worker accountable and rebuild your life.
- Report the Harassment to Your Employer
Report the harassment to your immediate supervisor or human resources department. You can do this in person, in writing, or by telephone; however, it is important to record when and how you reported the harassment and any following communication. This is a vital step in any sexual harassment claim.
If you feel unsafe or upper management is responsible for the harassment, speak with an attorney at our law firm. We can help report the behavior and communicate with the employer on your behalf.
- Document the Harassment
Keep a detailed record of incidents of harassment, including the date, time, location, and any witnesses. Include as much information as possible, such as what happened, direct quotes from those involved, and the impact the incident had on your physical and emotional well-being.
- File a Complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
After reporting the harassment to your employer, you must file a complaint with the EEOC within 180 days of the incident. You can file a complaint in person, by mail, or online through the EEOC’s website. We can help you put together your claim and walk you through the process.
- Wait for a Response from the EEOC
The EEOC will investigate your complaint and determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that sexual harassment occurred. If the EEOC finds reasonable cause, the agency will attempt to negotiate a settlement between you and your employer. The EEOC may file a lawsuit on your behalf if a settlement cannot be reached.
According to the EEOC, isolated incidents, teasing, or offhand comments are not typically considered illegal. For the EEOC to pursue a claim, the harassment must be severe or frequent enough that it results in a hostile work environment or wrongful termination.
- File a Private Lawsuit
If the EEOC does not find a reasonable cause or if you do not wish to wait for a resolution through the EEOC, you can work with an attorney at our law firm to file a civil lawsuit to seek damages. We can ask for compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost earnings, and medical expenses to pay for your losses.
Get Legal Advice
Fieger Law works with sexual harassment victims throughout the country. We can help you understand your legal options for compensation after suffering sexual harassment in the workplace.
We will provide support and legal advice throughout your entire claims process, from helping you document the harassment to filing a claim with the EEOC or representing your interests in a civil lawsuit.
Contact us to set up a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and get legal guidance on your next steps.