When Is An Employer Responsible For Sexual Harassment By A Supervisor?

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace by a supervisor, you may be wondering who is responsible for your damages. An employer is always responsible for harassment by a supervisor that culminated in tangible employment action. The supervisor should have been trained and if there were any complaints about the supervisor’s inappropriate behavior, the employer should have promptly addressed them.

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace is considered tangible employment action. That means there is a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, undesirable reassignment, a decision causing major changes in compensation, benefits, and employment assignments. If you think you suffered sexual harassment, you should file a complaint and be sure to gather evidence.

Employers should establish, publicize, and enforce a policy that prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. The policy and procedure should be in writing. Any employer’s anti-harassment policy should make it clear that the employer will not tolerate any kind of harassment. The policy should also clearly indicate that retaliation against anyone who files a complaint or participates in an investigation will not be tolerated. The employer’s sexual harassment policy should clearly outline the procedure for filing a complaint, and for better reference, the policy should be in writing and every employee should be provided a copy of the policy.

You should maintain thorough documentation to support your claim, including your employee handbook, any digital or physical evidence, photos, messages, and witness statements. The more evidence that you have that will support your claim, the stronger your case will be. An employment law attorney will help you review your evidence and determine the best way to proceed with your sexual harassment in the workplace case. Evidence is essential to your claim’s success, so be sure to gather everything that you can and always document everything.

How To Get Your Case Started

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you will need to read your employer’s policy and their procedures for filing a formal complaint. Your first step will be to file a complaint with your employer by speaking with human resources (HR) or by talking with your manager. If your employer fails to properly address your complaint, your next step will be to take your complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC will investigate your claim then represent you at no charge. If there is willful and intentional illegal actions done regarding the sexual harassment, or if there is a pattern of such behavior, your employer could face criminal penalties. Your employer could face fines in addition to paying you for any damages you suffered because of the sexual harassment you endured while at work.

If you enlist the help of an employment law attorney, you may be able to process your claim more quickly than if you tried to maneuver the process on your own. An employment law attorney will be familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to your specific situation and will be able to pursue your complaint and ensure that you are treated fairly. An attorney can also count up your damages and determine the value of your claim.

Get Help Today

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you have laws to protect you and there are resources available. Time to pursue a claim is limited, so you should not delay getting your claim underway. You may be entitled to recover damages and your claim may help protect other workers from suffering the same kind of harassment in the workplace. Often, sexual harassment has a pattern within a workplace, and if employees would step up and pursue a claim, they could put an end to the inappropriate behavior.

While sometimes sexual harassment is subtle, there are times when it is much more obvious. You should be attentive to what is said and done, and be sure to keep track of all the incidences and be sure to maintain a file that can be used to support your claim against your employer.

When you meet with an attorney, be sure to go over the payment options. Some attorneys require a retainer and then charge an hourly rate. Some lawyers, however, will take cases on a contingency basis and not be paid until you win your claim.  Do not delay getting your claim underway because if you wait too long you cannot recoup your losses.

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