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Sexual Harassment Lawyer Referrals

If you would like to seek the advice of a top sexual harassment lawyer, Contact Attorney Search Network today for a free consultation.

Sexual Harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination. Sexual harassment is characterized by unwanted verbal or physical sexual behavior in the workplace or in an educational setting. That sexual behavior is unlawful so long as it generates feelings of hostility or intimidation, hinders the victim’s ability to work at school or on the job, or if an employee or student has to accept the harassment in order to be successful in the workplace or educational setting.

Many different behaviors can be defined as harassment, including sexual gestures, jokes, unwanted comments, unwelcome sexual advances or bodily contact, and physical intimidation. Sexual harassment exists when a powerful individual uses his/her power to intimidate the victim into accepting the unwelcome sexual behavior, for instance if an employer coerces an employee into sex or threatens to fire the employee instead. Men and women can both be the perpetrators or victims of sexual harassment, but it is more likely for women to be the victims. Studies also show that children and teenagers are often the receivers of sexual harassment. Oftentimes, people have differing perceptions regarding what kinds of behavior are acceptable and which constitute sexual harassment, sometimes making it difficult to track the prevalence of harassment cases.

Sexual harassment can negatively affect a student’s or employee’s quality of work, morale, attendance, and ability to work collaboratively. It can also affect their productivity as well as their psychological and emotional welfare, sometimes leading the victim to feel angry, fearful, anxious, self-conscious, guilty, humiliated, embarrassed, depressed, tired, or nauseated, among other symptoms.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in workplaces and educational settings and has outlined guidelines to help identify behaviors that are unlawful and considered sexual discrimination. The act states that sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, sexual favor requests, and verbal or physical sexual conduct under any of these conditions: acceptance of the behavior is implicitly or explicitly necessary to remain employed; acceptance or rejection of the harassing affects employment decisions; or the behavior unreasonably interferes with the victim’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive job environment. Most importantly, the conduct is deemed unlawful when it is unwanted by the individual being harassed.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) restricts the amount of time a person has to file a sexual harassment complaint. After the commission’s investigation, it issues a right to sue letter, no matter what it concluded about the case. After receiving the letter, the recipient has 90 days to file a lawsuit against the accused in federal court. The victim can recover compensatory damages, back pay, attorneys’ fees, and other potential damages if successful in the lawsuit. Moreover, if the harassment led a victim to lose his/her job or prevented the victim from receiving a promotion, the court may reward the victim with reinstatement or promotion.

Title IX prohibits sexual harassment in all federally funded educational institutions as well. It refers to two kinds of sexual harassment. One kind is a coercive tradeoff, for instance if a professor threatens to give a student a bad grade if the student refuses to have sex with the professor. The second kind is unwanted sexual conduct that leads to an environment that is hostile or intimidating in nature. Those who believe they have been sexually harassed in an educational setting can file a lawsuit against the school in federal court in order to recover monetary damages and do not need to first file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. If a school is found guilty of violating Title IX, it might lose its federal funding.

In sexual harassment cases, employers may be held liable for failing to adopt anti-harassment policies and making employees sufficiently aware of those policies. In order to avoid liability, employers must prove that the accuser “unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.” It may be considered unreasonable, for instance, if a victim did not formally report harassment to company officials. Yet, if the victim failed to report because the company’s policy did not guarantee that the complaint could be filed without the harasser’s knowledge, the lawsuit may be deemed reasonable. Cases of harassment among co-workers can be tougher to handle. Courts may have to determine whether an employer should be held responsible for harassment amongst employees if he or she knew or should have known about the behavior, or if the employer should not be liable because he/she took corrective action immediately.

In order to tackle sexual harassment cases and avoid legal liability, many companies have created policies that prohibit sexual harassment and outline guidelines for victims to follow when reporting their cases. The guidelines often prohibit certain types of speech to help eliminate verbal harassment. Educational institutions have also adopted similar policies, including hate speech codes which disallow the use of certain language, including racist and sexist remarks.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, the first step you should take is to file a written complaint to your supervisor or other figure of authority that is responsible for the inappropriate conduct, including as much detail as possible about the conduct and any witnesses’ names. After receiving the complaint, the employer should take immediate action; but if that does not happen, you should consult a sexual harassment lawyer to help provide you with legal protection and explore the possibility of a lawsuit. Contact Attorney Search Network for a free referral to a sexual harassment attorney who can help you file a complaint and ensure that you recover damages for the harassment you have endured.

Contact Attorney Search Network for a Lawyer Referral in your local area with Sexual Harassment experience.