Sexual harassment is a problem in the workplace. Examples of sexual harassment at work include any actions or words that have a sexual connotation and that interfere with an employee’s ability to work or they cause an uncomfortable atmosphere could be considered sexual harassment. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, you should speak with an employment law attorney who handles such claims in your area.
With the right evidence and documentation, you can file a successful complaint against your employer. You don’t have to put up with sexual harassment, and you should make the responsible party be held liable for your damages. When you file a complaint, you can put an end to the inappropriate behaviors at your workplace. You do have rights, and you shouldn’t be mistreated at work.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
There are many ways that sexual harassment can take place. It can be challenging to know if an action would be considered as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment could involve:
- Sharing sexually inappropriate videos or images, such as salacious gifs or pornographic images with co-workers
- Sending suggestive notes, emails, or messages
- Displaying inappropriate sexual images or posters in the workplace
- Telling lewd jokes, sharing sexual anecdotes
- Making inappropriate sexual gestures
- Staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner
- Whistling when someone walks past or enters the room
- Making sexual comments about clothing, appearance, or body parts
- Touching inappropriately, such as rubbing, patting, pinching or purposefully rubbing against another person
- Asking sexual questions, such as personal questions about an individual’s sexual history or sexual orientation
- Making offensive comments about someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity
- Using power to make someone feel like they must comply with sexual harassment, or they may lose a promotion, job, raise, etc. This is known as Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment
If you have experienced one of these examples of sexual harassment or had a similar experience, then you may have suffered sexual harassment. You should tell the individual stop immediately. You should then file a complaint with your employer as quickly as possible.
You should maintain documentation that shows you filed a complaint with your employer and be sure to maintain correspondence and document their response to your concerns. Evidence and documentation are essential to the success of a sexual harassment claim against your employer.
Who Can Be Sexually Harassed At Work
Anyone can experience sexual harassment at work. It does not matter your gender or position. You may experience sexual harassment from a direct manager or can experience from someone in a completely different department. It can happen to entry level employees or to senior level managers. Even if you experience sexual harassment from clients or customers, your employer may still be responsible for helping you end the harassment.
What To Do If You Have Been Sexually Harassed At Work
If you have been harassed at work, you need to follow proper procedures. There is statute of limitations, or a limited time, for pursuing a complaint. If you wait too long, you cannot recover compensation for the damages that you suffered when the harassment took place.
You should always report incidents of sexual harassment to higher powers. This would mean your manager or supervisor or to the company’s human resources department. The first step in a successful claim will be to gather supporting evidence and documentation. If there are physical and/or digital examples of evidence, such as video footage or photos of pornographic images or posters, those can support your claim.
You should make note of potential witnesses and be sure to ask them to provide you with statements regarding what they saw and/or heard. Also, try to determine if similar situations have occurred with other employees in that company in the past. Often you will be able to determine there is a pattern and that can help show that sexual harassment is commonplace with that employer.
Filing a Federal or State Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim
After you report the sexual harassment with your employer, if you do not receive a satisfactory response or if the harassment continues, you can file a claim with your state’s labor department or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Many state departments have workshare agreements with the EEOC, meaning if you file a claim with your state and they find the EEOC is the correct department to handle your claim, they will file a claim on your behalf.
The EEOC or your state will investigate your claim and determine the best course of action. They may find that you are owed compensation for any damages that occurred from the sexual harassment. Your employer may also be fined or face other penalties. The EEOC may also issue you a right to sue letter, allowing you to file a private lawsuit against your employer for the sexual harassment.
Speak With An Employment Law Attorney
If you have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace, you should speak with an employment law attorney who represents clients who have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace in your state. When you talk with an employment law attorney, be sure to go over their payment options. Some attorneys require an advance payment, which is called a retainer, to get their services. Other attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that they will not be paid until you win your claim and they recover compensation for your damages.
Your chances of a successful claim may increase greatly when you enlist the help of an employment lawyer. An attorney may be able to gather supporting evidence and documentation that may help prove that you suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. Your lawyer may be familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to your situation and may know the best way to proceed with your claim against your employer. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details of your claim with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website handles sexual harassment cases in your area.