Sexual Harassment Claims
Are you a victim of sexual harassment at work? The attorneys at Sass Law Firm understand sexual harassment laws and the sensitive nature of these claims. If you believe you are being sexually harassed at work, do not continue to suffer in silence. Contact our attorneys for help.
Federal and state law prohibit employers with 15 or more employees from subjecting employees to harassment based on sex. There may also be county or city ordinances that prohibit sexual harassment in smaller workforces.
Although sexual harassment is the most well-known type of illegal workplace harassment, it is also the most under-reported. Federal and state laws prohibit employers from subjecting employees to harassment, and creating a hostile work environment, based on sex. What does that mean? To violate the law, the conduct must be unwelcome and offensive conduct based on sex that is sufficiently severe or frequent in the workplace to change your working conditions.
What are examples of sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace occurs when a person:
- Experiences unwelcome sexual advances;
- Is subjected to unwelcome physical conduct of a sexual nature;
- Is requested to perform sexual favors against their will or under the threat of retaliation; or
- Is subjected to frequent or severe verbal, visual or written conduct based on sex which a person finds offensive. This can include sexting, derogatory and sexually charged comments and even off-duty communications.
It does not matter if your harasser is of the opposite or the same sex. It can be by a supervisor, co-worker, customer, vendor or corporate officer. Sexual harassment claims are not “one size fits all.” It is important to consult with an attorney experienced in handling sexual harassment claims to discuss your specific situation and determine whether you have a claim under the law.
How can I stop sexual harassment?
Reporting sexual harassment can be a scary thing. There is no easy way to stop the harassment, and it takes courage. However, if you work for a covered employer, you are protected from retaliation if you refuse sexual advances or otherwise object to and/or complain about sexual harassment.
You should first find out if the employer has a complaint policy for reporting sexual harassment. If there is a policy, it is best to follow its requirements. If you decide to come forward, be sure to document your complaint in writing, including that you consider the conduct unwelcome. If you are afraid to personally confront your harasser, report the harassment to human resources, or a higher level supervisor. The law requires your employer to take prompt remedial corrective action to stop the harassment, but unfortunately, some employers fail to act.
How do I pursue a sexual harassment claim?
To pursue a claim of sexual harassment in court, you must first file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), or pursuant to any applicable local ordinances. Filing with these agencies is required if you intend to file a lawsuit in court.
Under federal law, you have 300 days from when you knew or should have known of the harassment and/or retaliation to file with the EEOC. Florida state law gives you 365 days from when you knew or should have known of the harassment and/or retaliation to file with the FCHR.
Afraid of retaliation?
Retaliation is a legitimate concern after reporting sexual harassment and unfortunately, it does happen. Federal and state laws make it illegal for an employer to take an adverse action against you—like termination, demotion, discipline or less favorable working conditions—because you objected to and/or reported sexual harassment to the company or to an administrative agency.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace, do not delay in consulting experienced sexual harassment lawyers at Sass Law Firm. Sass Law Firm is a strong advocate for sexual harassment victims and can assist you in navigating these difficult claims. Don’t suffer in silence, contact our firm to schedule a consultation.