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Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whether the employment is affected because the employee submitted to or rejected the conduct, or if it unreasonably interferes with their work performance, creates a hostile work environment are all examples of sexual harassment. The purpose of Title VII is to prevent unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 and over), disability, or genetic information in employment. It includes employers with at least 15 workers and elements of the federal government.
Do you feel that you have been sexually harassed at work? If that’s the case, you may have legal options. Call for a free, no-obligation case review to obtain a free consultation from an attorney at Texas Personal Injury Lawyers.
What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Quid pro quo (this for that) harassment, or hostile work environment bullying, are two forms of unlawful workplace abuse. When unwelcome conduct results in an employee’s employment status or benefits changing in an intangible way, it is referred to as quid pro quo harassment (becomes a condition of continued employment or leads to demotion, termination, or lack of promotion chances). Harassment in a hostile work environment is conduct that is severe or widespread enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment.
Harassment is a broad term that can apply to many different activities in the workplace. In general, conduct that consists of offhand remarks, irritations, jokes, or minor slights not intended to severely harm a person is not considered unlawful unless they interfere with a reasonable person’s job performance. Slurs, assaults, threats, ridicule, and other forms of prejudice may be viewed as harassment if they disrupt the work performance of a normal person. Harassment is often characterized by a series of repeated actions, but isolated instances may also qualify if the conduct is extremely damaging or abusive.
In addition, a number of instances of bullying or harassment violate state and federal anti-discrimination legislation. These are examples of sex, race, national origin, religion, sexual preference, age, disability, transgender identity, or marital status discrimination.
What Is Considered Sexual Harassment?
When undesired sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, and other oral or physical conduct with sexual overtones are perceived as such, they are defined as sexual harassment:
- Someone’s employment is obviously affected.
- An employee’s workflow is disrupted without cause.
- The atmosphere of a taunting, hostile, and offensive workplace is produced.
Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment is one type of workplace discrimination, in which conduct is severe or persistent enough to create a working environment that would cause a reasonable person to feel uncomfortable. A hostile work environment is another name for an intimidating job, hostile workplace, abusive workplace, or hateful workplace. An employee (such as a boss or coworker) or even a non-employee (such as a client or contractor) may be responsible for establishing such an intimidating climate. A harassment lawsuit against the employer or another employee may be warranted in response to offensive conduct.
Sexual Harassment That Creates A Hostile Work Environment
The following are examples of sexual harassment that might contribute to a hostile work environment:
- Staring at a person in an offensively suggestive manner.
- Making insulting remarks about one’s appearance (i.e., clothing, body parts).
- Patting, pinching, or rubbing up against someone in a way that makes an employee uncomfortable (i.e., pats, pinches, and rubs).
- Telling sexual or vulgar jokes, hanging lewd pictures, and making sexual gestures.
- Letters, notes, emails, or pictures with sexual overtones that are being sent, forwarded, or requested.
Non-Sexual Harassment That Results In A Hostile Work Environment
Following are some additional examples of non-sexual harassment that might result in a hostile work environment:
- Using racial insults and phrases.
- Demonstrations intended to make fun of a certain race or ethnicity (gesture, image, drawing).
- Discussing someone’s race or other inherent characteristics.
- Making insulting remarks about someone’s gender that aren’t sexual.
- Taunting an employee about their religious convictions or non-existence.
- Making prejudiced remarks about an employee’s birthplace or family background.
- Criticizing the age of a person.
- Ridiculing allusions to an employee’s mental or physical handicap.
Other Types Of Harassment
Verbal, nonverbal, and physical harassment are the three other most common types of harassment.
- Sexual or suggestive comments
- Poking fun at someone Imitating the way someone speaks
- Sexual propositions
- Obscene telephone calls or broadcasts over the two-way radio
- Offensive jokes Repeatedly prodding about someone’s personal life
- Threats or insults
- Inappropriate language in the workplace
- Hanging material on the wall that is offensive or contains sexual innuendos
- Suggestive gazes or sneers
- Practical jokes Impersonating someone with a disability
- Following someone
- Sabotaging someone’s work by denying them access to information
- Offensive bodily gestures
- Encouraging a coworker to speak crassly about or harass someone in the office
- Mandating that women perform domestic tasks around the office (i.e. cleaning up after meetings)
- Gratuitous physical contact against someone’s will (i.e. pinching, brushing up against, hugging)
- Sexual assault (i.e. attempting to touch someone’s breasts or genitals)
- Pushing, shoving, or jostling. Placing your hand or object into someone’s pocket
It might be tough to determine whether a certain behavior is acceptable or unlawful harassment. It is appropriate when there is an agreement between two adults, and the conduct does not offend any of their coworkers. When a supervisor delivers feedback to a subordinate, it is not considered to be bullying unless the comments are untruthful or inappropriate conduct takes place during the evaluation.
Examples Of Sexual Harassment
There are numerous circumstances in which sexual harassment occurs, some of which may go unnoticed:
- It can be a woman or a man who is the victim and aggressor. They may also be of the same gender.
- The aggressor could be the victim’s boss, an employer’s agent, a department manager, a coworker, or someone who is not even affiliated with the company. Clients and customers can also be sued for sexual harassment.
- Whether or not the target of the abuse is in direct contact with the harasser, it does not matter. The victim can be anybody who is distressed by the behavior.
- Harassment can occur without causing financial harm or losing one’s job; it may also result in an unenjoyable working environment.
- Offensive statements, which do not have to be sexual in nature, can be made about a person’s gender.
- The harasser’s conduct must be inexcusable. There is no victim if the individual in question enables the aggressor’s actions.
Employer Liability For Harassment
An employer may be held responsible for sexual harassment by a supervisor that causes a job loss, such as termination, failure to hire or promote, and loss of compensation. Only if the employer can show that the supervisor’s behavior created a hostile work environment can it avoid liability if the employee’s complaint resulted in a lawsuit.
- It attempted to prevent and swiftly correct the abusive behavior;
- The employee failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective possibilities offered by the employer.
An employer may also be held responsible for harassment by its regular and non-employee workers, as long as it was aware, or should have been aware, of the misconduct and failed to take appropriate action.
Documentation Of Harassment
It is also critical for these persons to maintain extensive records documenting the harassment since as a personal experience and limited recall by the victim isn’t always enough to establish that events occurred. Anything that might back up a complaint or help with comprehensive descriptions of what occurred may be beneficial in preparing a high-quality claim.
Taking notes or diary entries that describe the circumstances of each event in detail is one of the most essential techniques for demonstrating that harassment occurred. The following are some of the key features to keep in mind when taking notes:
- What happened
- When it happened
- Who was involved
- Where it happened
- How you initially reacted
Dealing With Harassment
In order to prove that abuse did, in fact, occur, the employer must document any efforts made by the harassed employee to stop or correct the issue. It may be useful to take these initial actions to attempt to solve the problem if you believe you are a victim of harassment:
- Tell the person to stop and inform them that their actions are making you feel uncomfortable and are in violation of the code of conduct.
- Keep a complete record of any events you consider to be bullying.
- If the behavior does not cease, contact your supervisor and begin the grievance procedure described in your employee handbook.
If the employee’s behavior is particularly bad or does not cease after they have confronted the aggressor, they should inform their bosses. This move gives businesses and organizations the opportunity to conduct their own investigation while also formalizing the worker’s complaint. If the firm does not take action to fix the problem, or if it continues to happen nevertheless, the victim may have a case in court to show that harassment occurred and that the employer should be held liable. Employees are encouraged to make a complaint against their employer as soon as they can:
- Other grievance handlers (i.e. human resources manager) or union
- Anti-Discrimination Board
The alleged victim and any other witness are protected against a backlash in response to coming forward by management.
Finally, employees who believe they have been subjected to workplace discrimination must file an EEOC complaint or a similar state agency claim. The company where the claim is filed will then investigate and decide your legal rights. At the next level, they may do the whole discovery procedure and select a legal remedy on their own, or give responsibility for pursuing harassment claims to the employee. With the aid of a competent and experienced labor and employment lawyer, these intermediate sorts of compensation might be simplified. A harassment lawyer will be able to develop and gather the necessary documents and evidence, notify the proper authorities, and build a strong case to receive compensation for harassing behaviors.
Retaliation After Workplace Harassment
It is prohibited for an employer or other employee to penalize or discriminate against any individual who has opposed illegal conduct under Title VII:
- Disagrees with employers that engage in unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, race, religion, or any other legally protected category
- Files a discrimination charge
- Offers testimony or partakes in an investigation or court proceeding
Employees should not be afraid to report bad behavior since employers are not permitted to retaliate against any person who makes a claim of harassment with the EEOC. If the EEOC believes that the harassment claim has merit, the party subjected to the illegal conduct may be eligible for back pay, reinstatement, promotion, and/or compensatory or punitive damages for certain actions.
Contact Texas Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Texas Sexual Harassment Lawyers have extensive expertise investigating, preparing, and litigating sexual harassment claims in the workplace. We know how to provide sympathetic assistance to victims of workplace harassment, and we are committed to preventing this sort of conduct and obtaining complete compensation for our clients. Do not delay in calling us for a free case review to discover if you may be eligible for legal remedy through a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Call our legal team immediately at (888) 997-2148 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced sexual harassment lawyers and it will be your initial step toward receiving fair and just compensation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely free.