If you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment in South Carolina, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation from your employer who has violated state or federal sexual harassment laws by failing to protect you from workplace harassment.
When defined, sexually harassment is considered to occur when a person has made unwelcomed sexual advances, asked for sexual favors or has used any other physical or verbal harassment which is considered to be of a sexual nature. It is also against the law to harass any person of either gender in the workplace through the use of offensive comments which are referring to women or men in general. In addition, both the victim of the workplace sexual harassment and the harasser could be either a man or a woman of the same sex.
What South Carolina State Laws Protect Against Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination which has violated the federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment is also prohibited by South Carolina’s own anti-discrimination legislation which is the South Carolina Human Affairs Law. The federal legislation is overseen by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), while the state legislation is overseen by the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC).
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Under both state and federal law sexual harassment can be considered as any of the following or a combination of one or more actions:
- subjecting the victim to visual, audio and / or written offensive or suggestive sexual conduct ;
- subjecting the victim to crude, vulgar and sexist language.
- making sexual advances;
- demanding sexual favors;
- using words that are sexual in nature;
- any physical behavior that can be considered sexual in nature, such as unwanted or unsolicited touching, groping as well as more serious and potentially criminal acts such as sexual assault, including rape.
How Sexual Harassment is Covered by Law in South Carolina
South Carolina’s own anti-discrimination law prohibits discrimination and covers complaints of sexual harassment that have taken place in the workplace. Employers are expected to create an environment in which sexual harassment is discouraged and are also expected to respond to genuine complaints of sexual harassment by any of their employees.
Employers who do not respond to complaints of sexual harassment satisfactorily may face investigation by the state or federal agency overseeing laws prohibiting workplace sexual harassment and may face fines or other penalties if they do not resolve genuine complaints.
What Employers are Covered by Sexual Harassment Laws?
All employers in South Carolina must observe both state and federal legislation that prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. Generally, larger employers, defined as those that employ15 or more employees are investigated by the EEOC, while smaller employers by the state agency, the SCHAC. Because of workshare agreements between the SCHAC and the EEOC, larger employers may also face investigations after complaints made to the state body first.
Where to File a Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim in South Carolina?
If you are a victim of sexual harassment in South Carolina you should file your complaint with either the SCHAC or the EEOC. It is best to opt for the EEOC if you are in a workplace with 15 or more employees, but if you file your complaint with the SCHAC, the state office can “cross-file” because of the workshare agreement with the EEOC. The addresses of both the SCHAC and EOC offices in South Carolina are given below.
South Carolina Human Affairs Commission
1026 Sumter Street Suite 101
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 737-7800
EEOC's Greenville Local Office
301 North Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in South Carolina?
Under South Carolina state law you have 180 days to file a complaint of sexual harassment in the workplace with the SCHAC. The federal statute of limitations is 300 days from the incidence of sexual harassment.
Getting Help Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in South Carolina
Before filing any South Carolina workplace sexual harassment claims you should seek help from a lawyer first who will ensure you have the right evidence to support your claim. A lawyer has had years of experience negotiating settlements with employers who have allowed sexual harassment to take place.
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