Sexual harassment in the workplace can be an unpleasant experience, leading to emotional distress and potential retaliation from coworkers or managers. Seek legal assistance as soon as possible from an experienced attorney if this happens to you. If you’re nervous or uncertain about what they can do for you, read the following article to help put your mind at ease.
Harassment Can Be a Form of Discrimination
Harassment can be considered discrimination if its target is protected, such as race or sexuality. For harassment to be illegal, its severity must be widespread. Also, those engaging in harassing behavior should know it was inappropriate and have disapproved of it.
Examples of sexual harassment may include unwanted touching, unwanted comments, offensive letters and emails, rape, assault, or any act that creates a hostile work environment. While most such cases fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, additional laws exist that protect people against harassment in other settings – like housing and education, for instance – so having access to an experienced attorney will help explain all applicable regulations to you so you can decide whether or not pursue a legal case is in your best interest.
Age-based discrimination is another common form of harassment experienced by workers over 40. It may include teasing, jokes, and other remarks directed toward their age, assigning complex shifts, or making them work during holidays.
Even if you are uncertain if you have experienced harassment, it is essential to seek legal assistance immediately. A sexual harassment lawyer can assess your case and evaluate if there is a valid compensation claim (source: https://www.justice.gov/crt/title-ix); they can then help file a lawsuit against the offender, potentially recovering punitive damages as an extra way of punishing them and discouraging future abuse from occurring.
Although many know the economic costs of sexual harassment, few understand its psychological and emotional toll. Victims of harassment may feel alienated from coworkers and family members alike and suffer anxiety or depression as well as difficulty sleeping and nightmares; severe cases could even lead to mental health disorders like major depressive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, which can have detrimental impacts on daily life and even lead to suicide attempts.
Your case may also entitle you to punitive damages. Therefore, working with experienced sexual harassment attorneys and law firm that can gather evidence supporting punitive damages claims will be essential as these awards punish perpetrators while discouraging others from repeating such behaviors in the future. Doing thorough research beforehand is important to ensure you have the best match before your case begins.
Some victims of harassment are reluctant to speak out because of fear of retaliation from employers and coworkers. Still, it’s important for anyone who has witnessed sexual harassment to report it immediately to EEOC or another government agency. Counseling services can also provide valuable support – finding one outside work/school may ensure confidential conversations do not leak out and cause more pain for you and those around you.
It Can Lead to Retaliation
Retaliation is one of the most severe effects of sexual harassment. As a form of discrimination that violates state laws and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations, victims may remain silent about misconduct because they fear retaliation – including verbal and physical harassment, negative employment actions such as demotion or termination, or criminal action in some instances.
Step one of pursuing a retaliation claim should always involve filing a formal complaint with an employer’s office or government agency, which will allow your company to correct the problem before you file a lawsuit against them. Doing this can provide the support needed while also helping prevent further violations; it’s best to consult a lawyer specializing in these types of cases to get optimal results in your case.
Retaliatory actions may differ depending on the situation but often include social ostracization and increased scrutiny, including being excluded from meetings or projects, facing criticism for work performance, being passed over for promotions or denied training opportunities, and having reduced hours or salary by employers.
As I’ve mentioned, immediately seek legal advice if retaliation becomes severe and continues unabated as soon as it doesn’t stop. A lawyer can offer an in-depth review of your situation, explain its legal basis, advise how to document retaliatory behavior, and collect evidence such as emails or text messages proving it.
Retaliation comes in many forms, and it’s a good idea that we remember your courage in standing up for your rights is helping create a safer working environment for all. Any form of retaliation experienced is not your fault and must not be tolerated.
It Can Lead to Legal Action
Whenever it happens in the workplace, it’s recommended that legal action be taken immediately. Document any incidents and gather all evidence, such as photos, emails, and related texts; resist the urge to delete or discard this documentation as it will prove essential for future investigations or lawsuits. Maintain records of any mental health treatment received following an incident, contact witnesses, and obtain their statements.
An employment attorney can help you understand your rights and decide whether or not to file a civil suit against a harasser. Consulting early with such an attorney will ensure no deadlines or filing requirements are missed while strengthening your case as much as possible. Your lawyer may also review employer policy and procedures to see how they apply in a lawsuit scenario.
If the harassment is severe and pervasive, you could consider filing a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – which you can read here. This law defines it as discrimination, and employers must abide by it. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is charged with upholding Title VII.
You can file your complaint directly with them before filing in state or federal court. EEOC will investigate your claim before either taking steps themselves to pursue it on your behalf or providing you with a right-to-sue letter to enable filing of legal action yourself in state or federal court.