Sexual Harassment Attorney in Miami

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Sexual harassment in Miami is when a CEO, fellow employee, supervisor or manager, client, or business associate makes unwelcomed sexual comments or gestures towards and employee or job applicant that interfere with his or her work performance. This is a form of sex discrimination and it is illegal. For over 25 years, the Derek Smith Law Group has helped victims of sexual harassment in the Miami workplace receive the justice they deserve.

What is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Miami?

Workplace sexual harassment in Miami is one of many forms of gender-based discrimination or sex discrimination. It occurs when an employer, co-worker, supervisor, manager, client, or non-employee of a company makes unwanted gestures, comments, or conducts him or herself in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person. There are several points regarding sexual harassment that are good to know and help you determine if you are a victim:

  • Sexual harassment can affect a man or woman
  • Sexual harassment can occur between people of the same sex or different sexes
  • Sexual harassment can be actions, verbal communications, or written communications
  • Sexism is also sexual harassment
  • A sexually explicit cartoon, video, or joke can be sexual harassment
  • Sexual harassment can occur within the workplace or outside the workplace at a work event or function
  • Sexual harassment can include gender-based terms and offensive, such as “Hun,” “Honey,” “Sweetheart,” “Babe,” “Baby,” etc.
  • Sexual harassment can occur between people who were once in a relationship
  • Sexual harassment can occur even if a person consents to the behavior or acts similarly if he or she feels the need to “go along to get along.”
  • A criminal sexual act in the workplace is also grounds for a sexual harassment claim
What Are the Types of Sexual Harassment Claims in Miami?

While sexual harassment comes in many forms, the law neatly bundles these incidents into two types of claims: quid pro quo and a hostile workplace.

    • Quid Pro Quo. The definition of quid pro quo is “this for that.” In other words, this is a favor for a favor or advantage expected in return for something. Under a quid pro quo claim, the employee or job applicant is made to understand that if the advances or conduct is refused, he or she will be denied positive treatment at work. For instance, if the employee does not go on a date with his or her manager, the employee will be denied the promotion that he or she has been working towards.
      Retaliation is also a part of quid pro quo claims. Retaliation occurs when the employee is wrongfully terminated or demoted because he or she did not agree to or return the supervisor’s unwanted sexual advances. Because supervisors and management usually are the people within the company that possesses the power to retaliate or deny favorable treatment to an employee or job applicant, many times the harasser is in a position of power or a client, as opposed to a co-worker.

 

  • Hostile Work Environment. The other claim for sexual harassment in Miami is a hostile work environment. In Miami, this means that the conduct must be severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person may find intimidating, hostile, or abusive. This can include sexual jokes, comments, emails, stalking, unwelcomed touching, harassment for sexual orientation, sexism, or anything that is not a quid pro quo action.
    The hostile work environment can be between co-workers or come from employer, manager and supervisors, associates, clients, and other non-employees. It cannot be lighthearted one-time jokes. Instead, it must be consistent and truly make a person feel intimidated or abused.
What Evidence is Needed to Prove Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Miami?

If you are the victim of workplace sexual harassment in Miami, the more evidence you have to help your case, the better your odd of winning will be. It is important to keep as detailed notes as possible to help show the harassment you were forced to deal with at work. Make sure to document:

  • Each specific incident of harassment
  • The time and date the incident occurred
  • The people directly and indirectly involved
  • Offensive conversations or remarks
  • Emails or memos you received
  • Complaints you made, when, to whom, what you said
  • The response to the complaints made
  • Any reactions to the alleged sexual harassment
  • How the incident made you feel
  • How the incident affected work performance
  • How the incident affected your general well-being
What Laws Protect Employees from Sexual Harassment in Miami?

Sexual harassment in Miami is prohibited by both federal and state laws. Federally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 makes it illegal for employers, co-workers, supervisors, managers and non-employees of companies with 15 or more employees to engage in unwelcome sexual advances, conduct, requests for sexual favors that would affect a person’s employment and create an intimidating, hostile, or abuse work environment.

On the state level, the Florida Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to sexually harass employees or job applicants if the company maintains 15 or more employees as well.

What Are Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Miami?

Sexual harassment in the workplace in Miami can take many different forms. Verbal and written communications, sexual acts, and even innuendos can be forms of sexual harassment. Here are some examples of Miami sexual harassment in the workplace:

 

  • Co-worker sexual harassment
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Criminal sexual conduct, such as rape or aggressive sexual assault
  • Sexually explicit jokes, emails, comics, comments, etc.
  • Stalking
  • Harassing an employee due to being gay or lesbian
  • Sexual orientation harassment
  • Catcalling or whistling at an employee or job applicant
  • Using sexist remarks to comments that indicate perceived gender roles or discriminate against men or women by the nature of the comment
  • Retaliation against an employee for refusing sexual advances
  • Wrongful termination
  • Sexual Coercion
  • Repeatedly asking a co-worker or employee on a date after the request had been refused
  • Making sexually explicit noises or gestures
  • Same-sex contact or comments
  • Non-employee sexual harassment, such as comments or actions from a client
  • Giving or receiving sex-based gifts
  • Unwelcomed requests for sexual acts
  • Continually harassing a co-worker or employee to go on a date after he or she answered no.
  • Sexism or making derogatory and stereotypical comments about a person based on their sex or gender
  • Sexual bribery
  • Refusal to hire a person because of his or her sex or gender
What is the Statute of Limitations to File a Claim for Sexual Harassment?

Title VII claims are monitored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC gives a time limit of 300 days for Miami employees to file a claim for sexual harassment. Once the EEOC receives the claim, it will investigate to determine if there is evidence of a violation of Title VII laws. Once the investigation is complete, the EEOC will issue a Right to Sue letter which allows you to file suit in federal court.

The Florida Civil Rights Act claims are monitored by the Florida Commission of Human Relations (FLCHR). The FLCHR gives a time limit of 365 days to file a claim for investigation. If the FLCHR determines there is enough evidence to file a lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act, they will issue a Right to Sue letter for you to file your case in state court.

What Remedies Are Available for Sexual Harassment Claims?

When you are the victim of sexual harassment, you want justice, and rightfully so. If you are going to take the time and go through the emotional work of filing a claim for sexual harassment in Miami, you want to know what will come out of it. Some of the remedies offered through the courts for sexual harassment in the workplace include:

  • Reinstatement of employment
  • Reassignment or termination of harasser
  • Reimbursement of back pay
  • Payment of future wages
  • Reimbursement of medical expenses
  • Reimbursement of benefit premiums
  • Reinstatement of benefits
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages (damages that are meant to “punish” the employer for these actions. These are based in part on the gross profits of the company, the nature of the action, and whether this type of conduct has occurred before within the company.)
How Long Will a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Last?

As a victim of workplace sexual harassment, it is natural to want the process to be over as quickly as possible so you can move forward with your life. The process of a sexual harassment lawsuit can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to 1 year or longer from the date you receive the Right to Sue letter.

If an employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, your case will likely take only 4 to 6 months until an agreement is reached. This will allow you to avoid court and the emotional turmoil trial can bring. However, do not settle for less than your case is worth.

If your employer is not willing to negotiate a fair settlement, the case may go to trial. The process to take a case through trial to receive a judgment from the court can take a year or longer. Once the case is in front of the judge, you may have another few days to a few weeks until the case closes.

A Few Things You Can Do Right Now

As a victim of sexual harassment in the Miami workplace, there are several things you can do to help you build your case before you even file a claim.

  1. Contact a sexual harassment attorney immediately.
  2. If you have not quite your job or been fired, do not quit. This could hurt your case.
  3. If you have an HR department, report the incident of sexual harassment immediately.
  4. Make sure you make it clear to your harasser that you want the behavior to stop. Speak up.
  5. If your company has the policy to handle sexual harassment, make sure you take the steps to follow it.
  6. Document every incident of sexual harassment. Include what occurred, who was involved, when and where it occurred, and who witnessed the incident.
Contact Our Experienced Miami Sexual Harassment Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Every employee and job applicant has a right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment impacting decisions relating to hiring, termination, compensation, training, benefits, and all other employment-related issues. If you are the victim of sexual harassment in Miami, the experienced attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group are here to help. Contact us today at (305) 946-1884 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.

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