Over the past decade or so, movements like #Metoo have brought attention to the rampant sexual harassment that occurs daily. Whether it happens at work, on the street, or in the classroom, sexual harassment is never okay. You deserve the chance to seek justice and hold abusers accountable.
Suing for sexual harassment can seem intimidating to the outsider, but there are a lot of benefits to doing so (both for you and for others.) Here are the most important things to know when considering suing for sexual harassment.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
The E. E. O. C. goes on to explain that sexual harassment also includes any form of harassment related to a person’s sex/gender. So even if the harassment isn’t sexual in nature, it can still be classified as sexual harassment. (For example, comments made about your abilities based on your gender would still be considered sexual harassment).
What Does the Law Say about Sexual Harassment?
Harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information is illegal. It was outlawed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is enforced by the EEOC.
According to their website, “Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive”.
In other words, if your job hinges on dealing with harassment or the behavior creates a hostile work environment, you may have a case legally.
How and When to Seek Legal Action
The EEOC determines the severity/pervasiveness of harassment on a case-by-case basis. Sexual harassment becomes a legal issue when it is significant enough to get in the way of you doing your job. If you’ve experienced this, you should speak to a lawyer to see if a lawsuit is a possibility for you.
Sexual Harassment Misconceptions
Sexual harassment doesn’t have to come from a boss. It can also come from a coworker or any other person working at a company.
Sexual harassment affects both men and women. While we most frequently hear about sexual harassment of women, men can also be sexually harassed at the workplace and can file a lawsuit for it.
Sexual harassment happens in schools, too. Whether it’s by fellow students or by teachers/administrators, sexual harassment and abuse may occur at even the most prestigious institutions. Click here for more.
Suing for Sexual Harassment: The Bottom Line
No matter what, sexual harassment is never okay. You have every right to pursue legal action against your employer if you are experiencing sexual harassment. By suing for sexual harassment, you not only protect yourself, but other future victims of sexual harassment.
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