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Defining Sexual Harassment in Georgia
Sexual harassment includes any unwanted conduct that is sexual in nature. It is considered a form of discrimination by law, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as any “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”
Sexual harassment can vary in severity and frequency. It can be anything from a relatively mild transgression or an overt physical attack. While the majority of victims of sexual harassment are female, anyone can be affected by sexual harassment. Victims can be of any gender, race, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and so can the perpetrators. Victims of sexual harassment can also include individuals that are not directly affected by the harasser’s actions. Anyone who finds the behaviors of another person offensive can file a formal complaint of sexual harassment.
Examples of sexual harassment include:
• Quid pro quo requests – Harasser offers the victim a promotion, raise or some other benefit in exchange for sexual favors.
• Verbal sexual harassment – Offender makes constant remarks that are offensive and sexual in nature. They may be about the victim specifically or can be a general joke that is of a sexual nature.
• Physical sexual harassment – Victim is touched inappropriately and without their consent. This can be anything from a hug to an attempt at rape.
• Non-verbal sexual harassment – Includes any written notes, letters or emails that are sexual in nature, any photographs taken of the victim or generally lewd pictures, stalking, or looking someone up and down in a sexual manner.
How Sexual Harassment Affects Victims
Sexual harassment directly impacts an individual in many ways. It can lead a victim to feel isolated, embarrassed or even afraid at work. Many victims refuse to come forward with the allegations because they may fear that the harasser will retaliate. However, victims of sexual harassment are protected not only under Georgia law, but under federal law as well. Those who have suffered any pain, discrimination or who have been molested by a sexual offender are able to take legal action against the harasser.
Georgia Sexual Harassment Law
According to the Georgia Secretary of State, all employers in the state should have a policy to protect workers against sexual harassment. The policy should have a clear procedure for reporting sexual harassment, including a way for the employee to bypass their immediate supervisor and seek legal assistance. Georgia law also requires that the policy should include a provision stating that the company will not tolerate retaliation against those who file a complaint about sexual harassment. Furthermore, the sexual harassment policy must be posted at the job site and must be given to all employees, who must sign a form acknowledging that they received it and understand the policy. Any company or agency in Georgia that does not have anti-sexual harassment policies in place may be held liable and without defense in the event of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Hiring a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Georgia
Individuals in Georgia that have been victimized by sexual harassment should first contact a Human Resources representative and file a formal complaint. If nothing is done to correct the situation, the individual may seek legal action and file a sexual harassment lawsuit with the help of a Georgia sexual harassment lawyer.
Sexual harassment attorneys work diligently to ensure that the unwanted sexual advances and behaviors stop immediately and that the victim is compensated for their pain and suffering. No one should have to suffer in a hostile work environment, and sexual harassment lawyers do whatever it takes to make sure the conduct ceases and never happens again.
While many victims feel frightened to come forward with sexual harassment allegations, the truth of the matter is that the perpetrator will not stop what they are doing of their own accord. The harasser may even turn to another individual or may increase the severity of their conduct. Don’t wait until it is too late to seek help or until the actions get out of hand or physical, speak to a leading sexual harassment attorney in Georgia right away to fight for your rights and ensure that the perpetrator is brought to justice.
Call one of our paralegals today to set up an appointment and see to it that justice is served.