Sexual Harassment – Are you Being Sexually Harassed at Work?
Call or schedule an appointment online with Barrett & Farahany, LLP for a no-cost consultation and additional advice on what to do if you feel like you are being sexually harassed.
Whether a supervisor is pulling a power play or a coworker is engaging in offensive conduct towards you, sexual harassment in the workplace can have dire effects on the victim, both on his or her emotional state and career path.
While workplace harassment affects women on a greater scale – one in four women has experienced harassment at work – either gender can be a victim. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), more than 7,500 charges were filed with the Commission in 2012, and 17.8 percent of victims were male.
The Atlanta law firm of Barrett & Farahany specializes in sexual harassment cases, representing the brave employees who refuse to let harassment threaten their careers and those of other victims. By advocating on your behalf, our sexual harassment lawyers can help you protect your job and reinforce that this behavior is not tolerated in today’s workplace.
How Sexual Harassment Affects You
Sexual harassment is unwelcome advances or requests for sexual favors, as well as other conduct of a sexual nature, when a) submission to the conduct is made a condition of employment, or b) submission or rejection is used as basis for making employment decisions, or c) when the conduct meets a threshold of severity or pervasiveness that creates a hostile working environment. Some examples of sexual harassment include:
- Verbal or written conduct – Comments about your clothing, personal behavior or body, sexual or sexually-based jokes, requesting sexual favors, repeatedly asking you out, sexual innuendos, spreading rumors about your sexual life, or threatening you.
- Physical conduct – Rape or assault, impeding or blocking your movement, inappropriate touching of your body or clothing, kissing, hugging, patting, or stroking.
- Nonverbal conduct – Leering at you, derogatory gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature, following you, or stalking you.
- Visual displays – Posters, drawings, pictures, screensavers, text messages, or emails of a sexual nature.
Importantly, courts have held that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII covers employers with 15 or more employees and requires that you file a charge of workplace sexual harassment with the EEOC. Also, some state laws are applicable to sexual harassment cases, including assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring and supervision.
- Gather evidence of the workplace harassment – Keep a record at home outlining each sexual harassment incident, including what is said or done, the date of the incident, other pertinent facts, and any possible witnesses. Keep any pictures, inappropriate messages, or other tangible evidence to demonstrate the harasser’s culpability.
- Maintain your work records – If a sexual favor is a condition of hiring or promotion or if you feel you will lose your job in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, be sure to keep any records of your successful job performance, such as evaluations or memos documenting the quality of your work.
- Report harassment to your employer – Meet with your supervisor and/or human resources department to discuss the matter, provide your complaint in writing, and document how you would like the problem fixed. If a reporting policy exists, follow the steps contained therein to report the harassment. If an owner or upper-level executive is the one doing the harassing, contact a legal expert to discuss your potential claim and how to proceed.
- Talk with a legal expert when the harassment starts – Call a sexual harassment lawyer who specializes in these cases in order to seek advice on how to proceed with your potential claim. An attorney can assist you in gathering evidence, filing with the EEOC, and finding information about the law’s requirements and deadlines for filing with the EEOC and in court.
As prevalent as sexual harassment is in the workplace, few victims ever come forward because of fear of retaliation, embarrassment, or victim-blaming. In fact, a survey from The Huffington Post found that 70 percent of women who have been harassed never reported the incident. However, your well-being and your career are too important to allow anyone to degrade either. Contact Barrett & Farahany to schedule an appointment with an attorney today in Atlanta by calling (404) 487-0925 to set up a no-cost phone consultation and get advice on what to do if you feel you are being sexually harassed at work.