Sexual harassment, regardless of one’s gender, is one of the burning issues in workplaces these days. It not only takes a toll on the productivity of employees and their confidence but also creates a hostile ambience in the workplace. When one feels overpowered by an individual, the former looks for ways to stay out of the perimeter of the latter. This also leads to an increase in their absenteeism. Also, employees do not hesitate to reach out to a sexual harassment lawyer in CT and other regions in the United States as the last resort when they lose faith in their employees.
Owing to these reasons, most employers take incidents of sexual harassment in workplaces with utmost seriousness. Inaction, on the part of employers, on this matter can lead to serious repercussions such as a heavy penalty and several other legal consequences.
That said, before approaching a sexual harassment attorney, it is important for an individual to understand what constitutes sexual harassment. It helps them take the right step depending on the situation.
This post will answer some important questions linked to sexual harassment to help you take the right step.
What is workplace sexual harassment?
Workplace sexual harassment is a form of harassment in workplaces which involves the demand for either sexual favours or sexual advances or other physical and verbal actions of sexual nature.
What are the different forms of workplace sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment in workplaces can be classified under the following two heads:
- Hostile work environment
The sexual harassment of this nature involves a wide range of aspects. These include the following:
- Demeaning comments that are suggestive of sexual harassment
- Offensive physical contact and gestures
- Abrupt requests for a date despite your repeated refusal to it
- Intimidating behavior
- Crude jokes or vulgar pranks
- The act of sharing pornographic material
Oftentimes, these actions are perverse by nature and impact the productivity of employees. What’s more, such conduct also has a negative impact on how an employee works in a company or other organization. Also, the biased behavior of employers in support of such conduct comes under the lens of sexual harassment.
- Quid pro quo
Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves the act of an employer demanding sexual favors from their employee(s) as a condition in return of perks or employee benefits.
It is a quid pro quo sexual harassment even if an employee agrees to it under pressure or the fear of being punished or dismissed from employment.
What isn’t workplace sexual harassment?
The following acts do not come under the purview of sexual harassment:
- Incidents of casual nature that aren’t serious or very offensive
- Harassment by a coworker or a colleague that goes unreported
There are exceptions for the second point, though. Laws for stalking and assault are the grounds based on which you can initiate legal action. A legal expert form a sexual harassment law firm will be able to provide you with a better understanding of the matter.
What should you do when you believe you have sexually harassed?
If you detect an unusual behavior of sexual nature from your coworkers at your workplace, it is imperative that you report about it to your employer.
Here’s what you can do.
- Ask your harasser to refrain from harassing you any further.
- Report it to either your supervisor or concerned authorities.
- Furnish the necessary details or cooperate with your employer while they investigate it.
What are the laws against workplace sexual harassment?
There are federal and state laws that protect workplace sexual harassment. You can find out which one best applies to your case by getting in touch with a sexual harassment attorney.
How much do you have for suing or filing a complaint?
Federal and state laws have different deadlines in this regard. Under Federal law, you need to file your complaint with the EEOC within 300 days since the actual day of the incident in Washington DC. In other states, you can take more time.
Likewise, you need to file a complaint with the HRC (Human Right Commission) within 180 days from the day of the incident.
That said, a lot depends on the nature of a case. You can find out more about the details of the duration of time you can take to file a complaint by consulting a legal expert.
From the above, it is clear that sexual harassment at the workplace is more complicated than what it seems to be on the surface. You need to take several points into account before proceeding to go the legal way. More importantly, you need to use the right legal channel and platform to address the issue in a tactful way. Consider approaching one of the qualified sexual harassment in the workplace lawyers to stay on course in this regard.