Workplace Sexual Harassment a Personal and Legal Concern
According to a 2015 survey, one in three women between the ages of 18-34 has been sexually harassed at work at some point in their career. The published figures are likely to be a low estimate.
Of the women who said they’ve experienced workplace sexual harassment, less than 30 percent reported the incidents to their employers or took legal action.
The study stresses that sexual harassment in the workplace is still a problem, and has taken on new forms. In the past where harassment may have been quite aggressive, now it may be more difficult to identify. It can be passing comments in meetings or even suggestive comments on social media.
According to media sources, attorneys across the country and reports from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workplace harassment complaints cost employers millions of dollars in lawsuit settlement payments and judgments each year.
Joe Lyon is a highly rated Ohio lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of complex litigation cases.
There can be a difference between what an individual employee feels is harassment and what constitutes illegal harassment under federal, state and local laws. Merely being bothered by a supervisor or co-worker, while unfortunate, does not necessarily mean you have a legal harassment claim.
Sexual harassment can include the following:
The two most common types of sexual harassment in the workplace are referred to as quid pro quo and hostile environment:
Harassment can be most intimidating when it comes from a boss or supervisor, leaving an employee feeling trapped and vulnerable. However, the harasser can also be a co-worker or even a non-employee.
Petty insults, minor annoyances, and isolated incidents typically are not basis for legal action. To be unlawful, the conduct must create an offensive, intimidating or hostile work environment.
Common verbal harassment can include:
An employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in termination, failure to promote or hire, or loss of wages.
If the supervisor’s harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove both that they attempted to prevent and quickly correct the harassing behavior, and the harasser rejected the corrective efforts provided by the employer.
Employers have a responsibility to create a comfortable work environment, free from harassing of any nature. When an employer fails to protect workers from harassment, legal action is an option for the victims.
Some claims make their way before a jury, though out-of-court settlements often are more attractive to employers. Harassment lawsuits can be costly, so out-of-court settlements save employers the time and expense of defending their employment practices. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports thousands of charges of workplace harassment each year, and attorneys recover millions of dollars on the behalf of victims who file harassment claims.
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and have questions about the legal options available, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.