Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace is as much about power as sex, with victims often living in fear of what is next. Will I be fired? Will there be retaliation? Will I continue to be harassed? Will I face a hostile work environment? Will the person harassing me try to turn things around and make me look like the instigator? These fears are a common consequence of sexual harassment.
Maybe you have already tried filing a complaint and the issue hasn’t been resolved. Maybe you are uncomfortable and know something is wrong, but you don’t know if it is sexual harassment. Perhaps it’s gender discrimination but that also is illegal. You don’t have to deal with sexual harassment alone. A skilled attorney knows how to analyze what is happening, put a stop to it, and advise you in a way that prevents additional harm.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, physical touching, invasion of personal space, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment also includes offensive remarks about a person’s sex.
In most cases, the victim of sexual harassment is a woman and the harasser is a man. However, the harasser can be woman, the victim can be a man, and the victim and harasser can also be the same sex.(We have litigated such a case). The harasser is often a person in a position of power but can also be a co-worker, an outside vendor, or a customer.
Why You Should Call a Sexual Harassment Attorney Right Away
Each case of sexual harassment has different circumstances, but the first priority of the attorney should be to make sure any harm to the victim stops. Proper advice and thorough analysis of your specific situation are critical to protecting the victim.
An experienced sexual harassment attorney knows what questions to ask. How serious is the sexual harassment? How is the victim being affected? Was a complaint filed? Is the harassment causing psychological trauma? For example, does the victim have panic attacks when going to work or being in the presence of the harasser? Is the victim vulnerable to an argument that conduct was welcome and not harassment? The answers to these and other questions will determine how quickly the attorney should act and what the strategy should be.
In many cases, the victim is best served by having the attorney remain anonymous while investigating the situation. Once an alleged harasser has been made aware that the victim is working with an attorney, the harasser will typically hire their own attorney, making it far more difficult to gather information and build a case.
Retaliation for Sexual Harassment Complaints
By law, when a sexual harassment complaint is filed, this is considered protected activity, which means the harasser or employer cannot retaliate against the victim. Retaliation can be many things, including but not limited to termination, pay reduction, discipline, exclusion from meetings, an increased workload, a decreased workload, isolation, and various forms of unfair or uncomfortable treatment.
The risk of retaliation is another reason why you should contact an attorney right away. If you file a complaint and are unable to prove sexual harassment, termination as a consequence is not unlawful retaliation.
You’re Not Alone
Many victims of sexual harassment are overcome with anxiety, trying to deal with this stressful, demeaning, and often threatening conduct. As an experienced law firm that has dealt with hundreds of cases of sexual harassment, we understand just how important our counsel is to a victim.
We take the time to truly understand what you are experiencing, stop any harmful activity, and seek proper compensation for any damages you may have suffered. We also encourage victims of sexual harassment to receive the treatment and support they need to deal with what is more often than not a very traumatic experience.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment and/or retaliation, or you are not sure and need help, contact us today for a consultation.