What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment could be defined as unwelcome behavior in a workplace or professional environment, involving comments/gestures of a sexual or obscene nature. Sexual harassment can take many forms, so the definition is broad and open to interpretation.
How bad does the sexual harassment have to be to win my case?
Every case is different, and no particular outcome can ever be guaranteed. That being said, our firm has been successful in settling cases with varying degrees of sexual harassment.
What if it's just my word against the harasser's? Can I still win a sexual harassment case?
Once again, outcomes are not guaranteed, but it is possible to win a sexual harassment case of this nature. Having the harassment documented in some form of writing (text messages, emails, etc.) or corroborated by a witness is typically helpful to the strength of the case, but it is not always required.
Does the sexual harassment have to be directed at me?
Technically, no. A sexual harassment case could be based on having to endure a work environment where the “culture” may include disparaging comments towards women, having to listen to or being pressured to participate in lewd conversations, or being shown sexually explicit material. For example, a woman working in an office with predominantly male co-workers often hears them make graphic sexual comments about women (other co-workers, celebrities, clients, etc).Scenarios such as these could be argued to create an uncomfortable work environment, through sexually based means.
Does the harasser have to be the opposite sex as me for it to be considered sexual harassment?
No, the harasser does not have to be the opposite sex as you. Additionally, sexual harassment does not necessarily have to seek or allude to a sexual relationship with the target. For example, a straight male can sexually harass another straight male by repeatedly inquiring about their sexual experiences.
Does there need to be actual touching for the conduct to be considered sexual harassment?
No, physical contact does not have to take place for sexual harassment to have occurred. Sexual harassment can also take the form of inappropriate comments, leering, or making lewd gestures to name a few examples.
Should I be worried that if I report the sexual harassment, I will be fired?
While it cannot be guaranteed that you will not experience retaliation or termination for reporting the behavior, it is illegal for a company to do either. In a perfect world, neither would take place, but that is how lawsuits occur. If you do experience one or both, you would want to contact our law office to discuss the situation immediately.
How can I protect my rights if I have been sexually harassed?
The first step you would want to take is bringing the matter to the attention of management (in writing, preferably). This gives the employers the opportunity to remedy the matter, and if they fail to do so, you can proceed with legal action. Additionally, it is important to document dates and times of incidents for your own records, or save any written communications regarding the situation.
I want to stand up for myself, but will I have to go to trial?
Our firm makes every effort to resolve a legal matter before filing a complaint in court, or taking it to trial. Sometimes, trial is required in order to obtain the justice you deserve. If this is the case, your legal team will be there to guide you through the process and make sure you are comfortable with all proceedings.