When Can I File A Claim For Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by federal and state laws. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment while on the job, you have rights and protections.

You will need to understand how to get a claim filed, and what you need to do to protect yourself and ensure that the harassment is stopped and that your damages are paid for by your employer. 

If it is a one-time incident and then the matter is resolved, then most likely it would not be considered sexual harassment by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or other agencies.

However, if you have notified your employer that the incident took place and they either brushed it off or didn’t take appropriate action and the problem has persisted, then you have proof that there was sexual harassment and you have grounds to pursue a claim against your employer. 

Timeline For Reporting Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment comes in many forms. It can involve sexual harassment quid pro quo, or it can be derogatory comments or negative remarks made about a gender, or it could be displaying inappropriate images or sending inappropriate texts or emails.

If you have been subjected to such, you should tell the individual who is behaving inappropriately to stop right away. 

You should then report the incident to your manager and/or the company human resources department. You should provide copies of any supporting documentation or evidence and be sure to keep proof that you filed a notice or compliant with them.

You should then keep any documentation that you receive as a response. You will need to maintain that as evidence.

If the problem persists, or if your employer hasn’t taken the situation seriously, you will then file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

Your claim with the EEOC can either be filed by mail or in person at an office. You should call and speak with an EEOC employee to learn more about the process and to determine if you have the proper evidence and documentation that your claim needs to advance to the next level.

The EEOC will then review your evidence and your claim. They will try to resolve the matter with your employer, but if they believe it is necessary, or if they believe that laws were intentionally and carelessly violated, they will suggest you proceed with a lawsuit against your employer to recover the damages that you suffered. 

The EEOC can also penalize your employer. They could face harsh fines and if it is an ongoing problem and multiple laws are violated, they could charge the executives and/or managers and send them to jail for their legal violations. 

Statute of Limitations for Workplace Sexual Harassment 

There is a time limit, which is known as a statute of limitations, for pursuing a claim against your employer if you have suffered sexual harassment while on the job.

You have 180 days from the date of the incident to pursue a claim. If you wait until that deadline has passed, you cannot recover compensation for your damages. 

There may be state laws or extenuating circumstances that extend that deadline, but you should not take that for granted or expect that.

Instead, you should act promptly so the matter can be resolved. That way you will no longer be harassed, and you could also keep coworkers from being victims. 

How An Employment Law Attorney Can Help 

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should enlist the help of an employment law attorney. An attorney who is familiar with the state and federal employment laws will know the best way to proceed with your case.

Your lawyer will help you gather supporting evidence and documentation that you need to prove your case and get your claim on the right track. 

It is imperative to consult with a lawyer as soon as you can regarding your claim. Some employment law attorneys take cases on a contingency basis which means that they will not get paid until you win your claim.

Other lawyers make require that a retainer be paid up front. You should discuss the process and the payment when you consult with the employment law attorney. 

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