Sexual harassment has no place in a professional working environment.
Despite increased reporting and awareness due to social media campaigns, sexual harassment is still prevalent and many people still endure this traumatic experience every day at work. We are committed to protecting your rights in the workplace. If you were the victim of sexual harassment, our experienced workplace sexual harassment attorneys in Miami, Florida, know how to get you the compensation you deserve.
Sexual harassment can occur anywhere.
It is classified as a type of sexual discrimination prohibited by the federal Civil Rights Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act. According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment can be:
- Unwelcomed sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that either:
- Affects an individual’s employment;
- Unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance; or
- Creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment.
Physical harassment is one of the most obvious types of sexual harassment in the workplace. This is especially true if you have evidence or eyewitnesses to document the situation. Virtually any type of intentional inappropriate touching that is unwanted or unwelcome may constitute sexual harassment.
What is unwelcome or inappropriate touching? Examples of physical sexual harassment can include:
- Groping, grabbing, slapping, or pinching of body parts or any other type of unwelcome touching that made you feel uncomfortable or at risk
- Intentionally rubbing or brushing up against your body
- Kissing or hugging you without permission (even the attempt may constitute harassment)
- Sexual intercourse
- Using force, threats, coercion, or violence to engage in sexual touching
Sexual harassment is not just unwanted touching. Many forms of verbal harassment can also be classified as sexual harassment, including:
- Comments on clothing, body, or relationships
- Sexual or suggestive comments
- Sexual propositions
- Making jokes or innuendos that are sexual or vulgar
- Asking for sexual favors or dates
- Issuing threats on rejecting sexual advances
Sexual harassment can also be non-verbal. Non-verbal harassment can include staring inappropriately in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or making sexual or obscene gestures or facial expressions. Sexual harassment can include showing images, pictures, videos, hanging lewd pictures, or disseminating drawings or emails that are obscene or sexual in nature.
While it’s commonly depicted as a person in power harassing someone below them, sexual harassment can occur in a variety of other circumstances as well:
- The victim or harasser could be male or female
- The harasser does not have to be the opposite sex
- The harasser can be a supervisor, co-worker, non-employee, or agent
There are various ways that an employer can be found liable in a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit. An employer can be liable for workplace sexual harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. The same is also true if a favorable employment decision, such as a promotion or increase in pay, is dependent upon submission to sexual advances. Even if you were not directly affected as a result, you may have a claim if the conduct interfered with your work or led to a threatening or uncomfortable work environment.
If you think you were the victim of workplace sexual harassment, you should immediately:
- Consult with an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney. Attorneys experienced with workplace sexual lawsuits can provide you sound guidance and legal advice for work harassment from the beginning.
- Make an internal report. Your attorney can determine whether your company has a formal policy for reporting sexual harassment. This report should follow the reporting procedure and be in writing. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for making a workplace sexual harassment claim.
- If your employer fails to fix the situation or cannot do so, you should file a charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Florida Commission on Human Relations. There are very strict deadlines for filing, through which your workplace sexual harassment attorney can guide you.
- File a civil lawsuit. When your charge of discrimination is concluded, you may bring a civil lawsuit against your employer to enforce your rights and to recover compensation. You could also potentially be reinstated to your prior position or receive lost income for the past or future.
If you’ve been involved in an incident of sexual harassment at your workplace—or anywhere else—we know what you’re going through and how difficult it can be to move forward without some kind of resolution. Call us today for a free case consultation, and our workplace sexual harassment lawyers will help you take the first step toward justice.Back to Sexual Assault and Abuse