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What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment involves any unwanted comments or conduct that is sexual in nature. It can be as simple as a joke regarding someone’s clothing to something as severe as rape. No matter what the individual situation is, the defining characteristic of sexual harassment is that it is unwanted and unwelcome. Victims of sexual harassment can be of any age, race, gender or sexual orientation and don’t even need to be directly affected by the actions in order for them to be classified as sexual harassment. A victim can be someone that overheard another person’s conversation and found it offensive, whether they were the topic of the conversation or not.

Examples of sexual harassment include:

• Verbal statement: Any comment about a person’s physical features, clothing, sexual jokes, sexual references, or threats that are unwanted or offensive in nature.
• Non-verbal actions: Stalking a person or looking someone up and down in a sexual manner; taking a photo of someone without their consent or looking at other photos that are offensive or sexual in nature.
• Written statement: Any letter or email involving unwanted sexual advancements or threats.
• Physical action: The inappropriate and unwanted touching of another person (i.e. kissing, hugging or groping) or a violent attack, such as rape.

Sexual Harassment Laws in Arizona

Sexual harassment charges in Arizona are taken very seriously. Arizona has specific laws regarding sexual harassment to ensure that the victim’s rights are protected. No one should have to suffer in a hostile work environment, especially if they are enduring continuous inappropriate behavior that is sexual in nature. Arizona law states that in order for any advances to be classified as sexual harassment, there must be proof that the actions and behaviors were unwanted. The first step that a victim of sexual harassment in Arizona should take is to confront the individual. They should let the harasser know that their behaviors are unwanted and must stop immediately. If the harasser does not stop, then the matter should be elevated to a supervisor. If that doesn’t work either, then the victim may seek legal action against the harasser.

Filing Sexual Harassment Complaints in Arizona

A sexual harassment victim in Arizona can file a complaint either at the state level or the federal level. Victims may turn to the Arizona Civil Rights Division (CRD) for assistance or they can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if there are at least 15 employees at the firm. If the victim works for an agency with fewer than 15 workers, it is in their best interest to hire a sexual harassment lawyer to ensure that their complaints are elevated to the appropriate agency and that the harasser is put to justice.

Unfortunately, there is only a short time period in which sexual harassment cases in Arizona can be filed, so victims should seek legal help immediately. Both the CRD and the EEOC have a 180-day limitation for sexual harassment claims, meaning that cases that are not filed as soon as the harassment occurs may not be tried or may lose their significance. Victims are urged to come forward as soon as possible to make sure their rights are upheld and that disciplinary action against the perpetrator is taken.

Working with a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Arizona

No matter what the individual situation is, by working with a sexual harassment attorney in Arizona, victims can ensure that their rights will be upheld. There are many different types of sexual harassment allegations and depending on the particular circumstances, there are several ways to handle the case. Sexual harassment lawyers know whether it is better to settle the matter in court or outside of court and will not rest until the perpetrator is held accountable for their actions and ceases their behaviors.

Sadly, many sexual harassment victims do not come forward because they are either embarrassed to talk about the incident or are afraid that the harasser will retaliate and make the workplace even more hostile. The reality of the matter is that no matter what a victim does or doesn’t do, harassers generally do not stop their behaviors. If legal action isn’t taken, there is a very great chance that the unwanted sexual advances will continue, get worse or will bring someone else into the equation, either as a harasser or victim. Don’t let this happen to you or to someone you care about. If you or a co-worker have been the victims of sexual harassment in Arizona, speak to a leading sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible to make sure the perpetrator never harms another person again.

Call for a free consultation today.