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Sexual Harassment Basics
#MeToo and #TimesUp have brought significant focus to sexual misconduct, with prominent people being accused of taking advantage of their positions of authority to take sexual advantage of others. While #MeToo and #TimesUp have helped to raise public awareness, sexual harassment has not stopped.
Recently, a viral video of an abusive customer touching a young waitress at a Georgia restaurant has circulated. The server took matters into her own hands by fighting back before calling the cops. However, her case is one among several verified reports of how frequently women (and men) are subjected to sexual harassment in their everyday lives.
At Texas Personal Injury Lawyers, we are focused on defending individuals who have been subjected to sexual harassment and/or abuse in the workplace. Our legal team handles instances of workplace sexual harassment in which employees have been harmed by a superior or one of their coworkers. Contact us immediately for a free case evaluation.
What The Law Says About Sexual Harassment
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the state of Texas, among other bodies, have authority over workplace sexual harassment. The first and most essential step is to make it unlawful in most cases, as does Texas law. Other legal rules and principles also punish specific sorts of conduct that may be considered sexual harassment. Finally, employers’ private agreements and policies frequently serve as the basis for legal action if employees are subjected to sexual abuse.
State And Local Anti-discrimination Laws
Individuals have never been held liable under the federal sexual harassment law. Instead of extending liability to individuals, federal legislation restricts it to business entities. Under Texas law, a “person that acts directly in the interest of the employer in connection with an employee” may be held responsible for failing to respond adequately to sexual harassment that “reasonably impairs an employee’s job performance.” Although the precise definitions for these phrases have not yet been established, it is reasonable to anticipate that contractors, managers, and coworkers would be held responsible if they do not address sexual harassment.
In certain situations, both individuals and firms in Texas may be held accountable for sexual harassment damages. This implies that both employees and employers are subjected to the same legal requirements. In Texas, it is simple to sue an employer. Under Texas law, compensatory damages (emotional distress and punitive damages) are given to “each complainant,” rather than to each defendant, implying a joint award. As a result of this, attorneys defending sexual harassment claims will not be rewarded financially by adding clients to these claims but will have greater access to information and courtroom tactics.
Workplace Agreements And Policies
The line between acceptable and impermissible conduct is defined by legal standards. Furthermore, employers frequently have contracts with workers that set restrictions against sexual harassment, making it a basis for termination or other undesirable employment outcomes.
In some situations, the union may include anti-sexual harassment provisions in the collective bargaining agreement between the employee and employer. This gives employees the right to file grievances for sexual harassment if they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Employers frequently demand employees to acknowledge receiving and reading employment policies that specifically prohibit explicit sexual harassment or conduct that might result in sexual harassment claims, regardless of unionization. Victims of sexual harassment may rely on these contracts and rules as legally enforceable when dealing with sexual harassers, depending on a variety of criteria including the company’s location and how strictly it enforces its regulations.
Confronting Workplace Sexual Harassment
It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to sexual harassment at work. However, victims may use several methods to fight back against workplace sexual obnoxiousness with the aid of a skilled sexual harassment lawyer.
Many victims of sexual harassment are hesitant to come forward because they are afraid of losing their job, advancing in their careers, and causing damage to their reputations. As a result, sexual harassment attorneys often prioritize client privacy and safety when handling workplace sexual harassment claims.
An attorney with a track record of defending victims against sexual harassment may often be the most significant step a victim can take in order to address bad behavior in the workplace. Many attorneys provide free initial consultations, and conversations with them are confidential.
An attorney may advise the victim to take any of a number of measures to fight workplace sexual harassment after an initial meeting. These might include:
Engaging In Self-Help
Sometimes, a lawyer may advise a victim of workplace sexual harassment to take certain measures in order to respond immediately to the harasser. That does not imply that the waitress in Georgia took aggressive action. Instead, a lawyer may properly advise a client to say things to the harasser in order to make clear that behavior is unwelcome. Even if they don’t, saying them might help strengthen any other action the client and attorney decide to take down the road. However, never take this step without first consulting a lawyer, who can instruct you on how to do it while also protecting your rights and your case.
Filing a FDEH Complaint
According to the FDEH, staff members have several avenues through which they can report workplace sexual harassment. When a complaint is filed, an official inquiry generally ensues, resulting in the government taking action against the employer. A lawyer can advise the client on whether and when it is in his or her best interests to submit a complaint, as well as help draft it in the most effective way to safeguard their legal rights.
Reporting Conduct Through Workplace Channels
Most mid-size and bigger companies have human resources departments and processes for reporting workplace sexual harassment. Smaller businesses may also have a designated individual who can accept complaints. A lawyer may assist the client in deciding when and how to raise concerns internally and can advise them on the company’s response. However, human resource departments are notorious for prioritizing the interests of their employers—not their employees. Before going to human resources, consult with an attorney so you can take this step while still maintaining your employment and case.
Taking Legal Action
A lawyer may advise a victim of sexual harassment to seek monetary compensation or equitable relief, such as job reinstatement, in certain situations. This is a significant turning point, and experienced counsel takes it very seriously to ensure that their clients’ best interests are served.
Contact Texas Sexual Harassment Lawyers
If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact Texas Sexual Harassment Lawyers right away. The measures you and our lawyer will select to fight back will not only assist you in your own situation but will also contribute to the movement of brave individuals changing our culture of sexual harassment for good.
Call us at (888) 997-2148 now for you free consultation.
We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely FREE. Contact us to learn what Texas Personal Injury Lawyers can accomplish for you.