Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
No one should be made to feel uncomfortable at work. The onset of the #metoo movement has exposed the frequency and gravity that sexual harassment in the workplace can reach. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, speaking up can be frightening. But doing so can help you get the justice you deserve.
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, workplace sexual harassment is prohibited. If you were sexually harassed at work, you have grounds to bring a civil lawsuit against a responsible employer or co-worker. Before doing so, it is important to first report the harassment to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Next, enlisting the help of an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney can help you hold a sexual harasser accountable for their actions. Feeling safe in your workplace is your right. While filing a claim against a co-worker or boss might be scary, it can help you get the justice to which you are entitled.
The Law Office of Andrew Shubin has an established practice representing victims of discrimination in the workplace. Our practitioners are prepared to represent victims effectively and aggressively. There are no prerequisites as to the size of employers we fight. Our principal goal is to defend and represent victims as they seek recovery from this traumatic experience. For a free and confidential consultation, call the workplace sexual harassment at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.
Why Is Harassment in the Workplace Actionable?
Every employee should be free from harassment. Employers have a duty to educate and proactively create means for safe reporting and risk assessment. Safe reporting means that the employee will not be reprimanded or suffer negative repercussions for complaining about sexual harassment themselves or someone they know. A lot of times reports are not presented because the person with the information worries about getting sued for defamation and other forms of liability. However, reporters are shielded from liability as long as the report is honest and fact-based.
Failure to Assess Risk
Risk assessment essentially means that the employer will hire someone to look at the location and work environment in order to determine if there are circumstances where sexual harassment can occur. If your employer simply doesn’t perform any inspections or reviews, then he may be liable, especially if there is common knowledge amongst employees that someone is sexually harassed.
Civil Rights Act Violation
Workplace sexual harassment is prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to Title VII of the Act, discrimination of any kind in the workplace based on sex is illegal. Because of this, victims of workplace sexual harassment are entitled to file a civil lawsuit against an offender. That being said, the filing deadline might be short, depending on your state. That’s why it’s helpful to report workplace sexual harassment as soon as you feel ready to do so. If your company is aware of the behavior and refuses to address it, enlisting the help of an experienced attorney might be your next step.
If you or someone you know is harassed at work, the compassionate attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can help. If this employer is aware of the sexual harassment but pretends nothing is happening, you should contact a lawyer. If you have been too afraid to notify your supervisor, you don’t have to be afraid to seek justice. Attorney Andrew Shubin has experience in this area and knows well that victims of sexual harassment in the workplace find themselves between a rock and a hard place, often too afraid to speak up.
How is Workplace Sexual Harassment Defined?
Have you been made to feel uncomfortable by an employer or co-worker? If you have, you might be unsure whether or not their actions qualify as sexual harassment. The bottom line is that if you feel unsafe at work due to another individual’s advances, comments, or behaviors, you can consult an attorney regarding a possible workplace sexual harassment lawsuit.
Sexual harassment has been defined broadly. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment. Also, unwanted sexual conduct can come in many forms of discriminatory intimidation, including ridicule and insult. Ridicule and insult can be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.
Each case of workplace sexual harassment is different. If you are made to feel uncomfortable by an employer’s or co-worker’s behavior, don’t minimize it. No one should make you feel unsafe at your place of work. To discuss your experience during a free and confidential consultation, reach out to the compassionate workplace sexual harassment attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today.
National and State Sexual Harassment Laws
As previously mentioned, there are laws in place that prohibit workplace sexual harassment. While federal laws can apply to your experience, your state’s laws might have more detailed descriptions of sexual harassment in the workplace. To understand all the legal options available to you as a survivor, contact the experienced workplace sexual harassment attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination pursuant to Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sex or national origin in employment practices. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees and local governments, employment agencies and labor organizations.
“Victim” is defined as anyone who is affected by the offensive conduct. The law protects victims against harassment caused by a person of any gender. The victim doesn’t have to be of the opposite sex. The law also protects victims against the harasser who can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, or a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
Each state might have its own laws regarding workplace sexual harassment as well. For example, in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act was enacted to forbid sexual harassment in the workplace. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is federal law and applies to all states, individual state laws prohibiting workplace sexual harassment might further protect victims and award more substantial damages.
Depending on the state where the sexual harassment occurred, your lawsuit might look different. Because of that, it’s important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the specific workplace sexual harassment laws in your state. Doing so can help you get the justice you deserve.
Can I Sue for Emotional Pain Suffered from Sexual Harassment?
We often think of lawsuits as a way for victims to get financial compensation for injuries sustained in an accident or due to negligence. If you weren’t physically injured due to workplace sexual harassment, you might think you can’t sue. However, the law can treat emotional injuries very similarly to physical injuries.
Title VII extends to sexual discrimination in the workplace since the ruling of Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson, where the Supreme Court specified that harassment has to cause a “tangible psychological injury” in order for an employee to have a viable claim against the employer. This injury doesn’t have to be physical only; it can also be emotional. That is crucial for survivors of any sexual abuse. Being physically injured isn’t the only thing that can harm a person’s life. In fact, emotional damage can profoundly impact a survivor’s ability to work or go about their daily life. Emotional damage is no less significant than physical injury.
Attorneys can establish that the pain suffered is an injury that could have been prevented by the employer in multiple ways. If you’re currently experiencing pain and other emotional and physical symptoms that you can associate with the harassment, you should seek help from a professional and also keep a diary or notes of how you’re affected.
What Should an Employer Do to Prevent Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Prevention is considered the best tool to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace. There are state and federal laws and regulations that encourage employers to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment is not tolerated in the workplace. They 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.
The law protects employers who promulgate policies to prevent sexual harassment. However, when an employer has rules in place but fails to enforce them, then they will be stripped of these protections. Courts will look at the facts surrounding the sexual harassment to determine if there were clear indications the employer should have known a hostile environment existed in the workplace.
Employers should have a sexual harassment policy that:
- Provides a clear and succinct definition of sexual harassment.
- Encourages individuals to report instances of threatened or actual violations of the policy.
- Provides an explanation of the process of investigation initiated on basis of the report. It should be clear in that confidentiality or anonymity cannot be maintained.
Am I Required to Tell My Employer About a Workplace Sexual Harassment Incident?
If you’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, no law requires you to inform your employer. Although alerting your superiors to the behavior can potentially cause it to stop, that becomes difficult if your employer is the one harassing you.
Although a victim can inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop, doing so could be frightening. If you feel unsafe speaking directly to a harasser, that is completely understandable. An alternative is to inform your workplace’s human relations department (HR). You can also use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.
If you do report the harassment to your workplace, the appropriate individuals should investigate your claim. An investigation of the sexual harassment will include the nature of the sexual advances and the context of the incidents. If, after reporting, there is nothing done to address the harassment, contact an attorney. The legal team at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can help hold the harasser accountable alongside the company that refused to help you.
When you don’t feel comfortable reporting sexual harassment to your workplace, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can review your claim. To file a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit, you first must report the behavior to the EEOC or your equivalent state agency within 180 days of the last act of harassment. Your lawyer can help you fill out the necessary paperwork. Once the EEOC sends you a Notice of Right to Sue, you can then pursue litigation. Should the EEOC deny your request, you and your lawyer can appeal its decision within 30 days.
Retaliation Against Sexual Harassment at Work
Under no circumstances should your workplace retaliate against you for filing a lawsuit against a sexual harasser. If anyone from your job decides to mock or harass you for any reason regarding your case, they will have also violated your Title VII rights.
Retaliation consists of spiteful or negative acts following a report of sexual harassment at work. If you believe retaliation has occurred or has been threatened, you should immediately report it and inform your attorney. When there is a probationary period or warning following your report, then there is ground to suspect retaliation. Let us say you had never received a written warning before and all of a sudden, after the report is made, you begin to receive written statements on your performance, then it’s possible you’re being retaliated against.
Because retaliation for filing a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the perpetrator can also be held responsible in a civil case. If your workplace environment is volatile after you bring a sexual harassment case, document any retaliatory comments or acts. Most importantly, let your lawyer know. After you’ve been brave enough to stand up to a harasser, no one should continue to make you uncomfortable in your workplace.
Workplace Sexual Harassment Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
Our compassionate team of lawyers can help you seek recovery if you or a loved one was a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. For a free, confidential consultation, call the workplace sexual harassment attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.