Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It may be a request for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or unwelcome sexual advances.
Sexual harassment may include one or more of the following:
- Pressure to perform sexual favors.
- Sexual assault or attempted rape
- Touching, leaning over, pinching or cornering a victim
- Letters, notes, phone calls, emails, texts or other materials concerning sexual content.
- Sexual gestures or looks
Sexual harassment doesn’t always have to come from the direct supervisor of the victim; it may be a supervisor from another department, a coworker, a client or a customer.
There are different forms of sexual harassment. The first one is working in a hostile job environment which may involve comments that are offensive, inappropriate conduct or gestures. The second is called “Quid Pro Quo.” This is when someone, usually a supervisor or someone in an authoritative position requests sex or sexual favors for a raise, promotion, or the security of keeping his/her current position.
It’s important to remember that you cannot be terminated from your job for refusing to succumb to the advances made by the harasser or for reporting his/her erroneous behavior. If your employer fires you for this, then your employer is in violation of a law known as retaliation.
You have every right to your job being reinstated and/or compensated any lost or back pay that you are entitled to under the law should your employer fire you under those terms.
There are many laws encompassed within the state and federal legal system concerning sexual harassment and other realms of employer misconduct. While the legal system may very well have been designed to serve as a barrier of protection for you as an employee, that does not mean that it is in any way simple. Here I will give you a list of important steps, necessary for you to take in order to successfully file a sexual harassment claim:
Sexual harassment consists of various forms so the question is usually not about determining whether or not the conduct is harassment; if it makes you uncomfortable, causes you mental distress, or just doesn’t feel right, then it should be reported. But the question is who do you report the misconduct to?
- Review your employee handbook or collective bargaining agreement: Employers usually set up the necessary procedures in which you should report sexual harassment incidents. It may be your Human Resources Department, a supervisor, or another (neutral) person designed to uphold your company’s “open door” policy.
- Report: After you find out whom to report the misconduct to, you should take every action to make this individual (or group of individuals) aware of the type of behavior that you have been subjected to. The victim of sexual harassment may experience fear, anxiety, embarrassment and other forms of mental distress; it’s hard enough having to endure the pain and suffering that comes with being sexually harassed. Taking the necessary action to report it certainly requires bravery and the strong ability to do what is right on behalf of the individual who has already been preyed on and victimized.
- Follow up in writing: After reporting the misconduct, always follow up with writing a letter or an email and send it to the person you reported the misconduct to. The letter or email should include what was said as a complaint to the person you reported to. It should also indicate what you feel is necessary to be done in order to remedy the problem. Your employer does not have to adhere to your specific requests on how to rectify the situation but your input is always helpful. Ask that the letter be kept in your files and also keep a copy for yourself.
- Contact an Attorney: If nothing happens to bring resolution to the problem or the harassment continues, gets worse or your employer retaliates against you, then contact us immediately. Having an experienced sexual harassment and employment law attorney to assist you in gathering evidence, and understanding your rights under the employment laws are essential in order to bring a successful resolution to your case.
Say no to a hostile work environment. Say no to being a victim of sexual harassment. Our experienced sexual harassment and employment law attorneys in New York, NJ, and PA are ready to fight for and protect your rights. Our goal is to get the best possible results for you.
If you have questions about sexual harassment or other employment misconduct in the workplace or would like to speak with a NY, NJ, and PA Sexual Harassment Lawyer regarding your case, please feel free to contact the employment law attorney at the Derek Smith personally at the law firm of Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC by calling our toll-free number 877-469-5297 today.