Sexual Harassment Attorney Referral Service
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that occurs in the workplace. It includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for favors that are sexual
- Verbal conduct of a sexual nature
- Physical conduct of a sexual nature
To qualify as sexual harassment, the conduct must:
- Affect an individual’s employment
- Unreasonably interfere with the work performance of the individual being affected
- Create a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment
In other words, teasing, off-hand comments, and isolated incidents are not covered under sexual harassment. The conduct must be frequent and severe enough to create a hostile work environment or to result in an adverse employment decision.
It is important to note that the victim of sexual harassment does not have to be of the opposite sex. A man can sexually harass another man, and a woman can sexually harass another woman.
The harasser can be the victim’s direct supervisor, a co-worker, a non-employee, an agent of the employer, or a supervisor located in another area of the company. The victim of harassment does not have to be the person actually being harassed. Any person who is affected by the sexual harassment in the ways mentioned above can claim that they have been sexually harassed.
The harassing conduct must be unwelcome. If the conduct is accepted and not offensive to the person receiving the conduct or witnessing the conduct, then it is not considered harassment.
How can I help prove I’ve been sexually harassed?
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, or are experiencing sexual harassment, it is important to complain to your employer, and to document that you have complained to your employer.
Making clear that the conduct is unwelcome, and must stop, is the first step to proving that you have been sexually harassed. A clear statement that you are offended by the conduct and want it to stop, and despite this, that the conduct continues, shows that the harasser continued to engage in the conduct against your wishes and statements.
To prove sexual harassment in the workplace, you must usually be able to show:
- That you were subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment;
- The harassment complained of was based on sex;
- The harassment complained of affected your employment;
- Your employer knew, or should have known, of the harassment and failed to take action to remedy the situation
Actions such as seeking counseling, behavior that has significantly changed, and being absent from work due to the uneasiness created by the harassment are sufficient to show that the conduct affected your ability to work.
Additionally, it is very important to keep records of the harassing conduct. Write down when you were harassed, what was said or done, and when you reported these experiences to your employer, including anything that you submitted in writing. This documentation can be used to show that the conduct was unwelcome and that your employer was made aware of the problem.
Why would I need an attorney to help with a sexual harassment claim?
Because you will need to prove several things in order to be successful in your sexual harassment lawsuit, it is important to seek the advice of an employment law attorney who has experience pursuing sexual harassment claims on behalf of employees.
An employment law attorney will know exactly what you need to provide in order to prove that you are/were being harassed. Additionally, your attorney will be skilled in litigation and settlement negotiations.
Oftentimes, an employer will want to settle in lieu of going to court, especially if the case is so clear that they will likely lose in front of a jury. An attorney will be able to negotiate aggressively on your behalf to ensure that you get the recovery you deserve.
Because all sexual harassment cases need to be examined on a case-by-case basis, a lawyer with knowledge in this area of employment law will be able to look at your specific case and tell whether you will be successful in your suit. Your attorney will be able to put together a case that will be convincing and successful in front of a jury, should you have to go to court.
Finally, an employment law attorney with experience in sexual harassment cases can provide emotional support during this time. It is difficult to stand up to your employer, especially if they have not taken action to help you in the past.
Your attorney will support you and assure you that you are making the right decision. If your employer retaliates against you for enforcing your rights, your attorney can further advise you on how to proceed. Contact us at 818-340-4529.