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Factors To Consider When Filing A Sexual Harassment Claim Against An Employer
Sexual harassment is still a big problem in the United States, and thousands of cases are filed every year. It can be tricky, because sexual harassment is often difficult to spot. A feeling of discomfort may just be over-sensitivity, or it may be a sign that your employer is creating a hostile work environment for you. Furthermore, one of the consequences of sexual harassment is often a feeling of powerlessness.
If you plan to file a sexual harassment claim against your employer, the first thing you should do is talk about your experience with a qualified employment attorney. She will be able to help you determine if you have a valid case and will likely even take on your case for free if she believes she can win.
Two Types Of Sexual Harassment
There are two main types of harassment in the workplace:
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment
- Hostile Work Environment Harassment
Quid pro quo harassment consists of a requirement, spoken or unspoken, to tolerate lewd behavior, actions or advances in one's direction in order to keep one's job, benefits, raises or potential for promotion. If you feel that your employment status has been negatively impacted in any way due to your rejection of your employer's sexual advances, this is grounds for a charge of quid pro quo harassment.
Hostile work environment harassment is more overt, and consists of a consistent pattern of behavior in a work environment that unreasonably interferes with the employee's work performance. When examining a hostile work environment charge, a judge will typically examine the nature and frequency of the harassment, the power dynamic, i.e. whether the alleged harasser was a supervisor or co-worker, and the extent to which the harassment affected the plaintiff's ability to get work done.
Hostile work environment harassment is a more serious charge, but it often requires a more extensive court case and greater legwork from your attorney.
What To Do Before You File A Sexual Harassment Claim
Your employer's defense will likely rest on claims that he did all in his power to prevent the sexual harassment from happening in the workplace, and that you didn't take full advantage of systems in place. For this reason, before you file a claim, you should report any harassment to your supervisor and fill out whatever forms are available. Keep copies of any sexual harassment reports or grievances that you make as these will be necessary evidence in court.
Keep in mind that your rights are federally protected. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from workplace sexual harassment. If you believe you have been harassed, call an employment lawyer and schedule an initial consultation today.