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What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in Hawaii?
Sexual harassment in Hawaii is defined as any unwelcome and unwanted behavior or conduct that is sexual in nature. The harassment must create a hostile work environment, in which victims are embarrassed, isolated or afraid to go to work and which causes their performance at work to decline. The sexual harassment may occur at a job site or in school and can include verbal commentary, written comments, non-verbal actions or physical attacks.
Sexual harassment in Hawaii may include verbal comments about a person’s physical appearance, clothing, body, jokes of a sexual nature, requests for sexual favors, repeatedly asking a person out on a date, or even the spreading of rumors about an individual’s sex life. Physical sexual harassment may include blocking someone’s path, inappropriate touching (i.e. hugging, kissing, fondling) assault, or rape. Nonverbal sexual harassment involves a victim being looked up and down, lewd gestures or facial expressions that are sexual in nature, or stalking. This may also include written notes, letters or emails as well as pictures that are of a sexual nature.
Who can be a Victim of Sexual Harassment in Hawaii?
Victims of sexual harassment can either be directly or indirectly affected by a perpetrator’s actions. They may be the subject of a joke or attack or can be another co-worker who overhears the comments or sees the behaviors and finds them offensive. Although the majority of sexual harassment victims are women and the majority of harassers are men, victims can be of any age, race, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity, and so can harassers.
Stopping Sexual Harassment
Any person in Hawaii who believes they have been the victims of sexual harassment may file a complaint at no cost with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC). The claim must be filed within 180 days following the incident. The complaint should include the following information:
• Specific dates and facts about the sexual harassment incident(s)
• Identify evidence and witnesses, if any, that substantiate the allegations
• Victim must keep the HCRC updated as to their whereabouts and inform the agency if there has been any address or phone number change
Hawaii Sexual Harassment Laws
It is against the law for an employer in Hawaii to retaliate against an individual who reports a sexual harassment incident. The alleged perpetrator must cooperate with any investigations and if they do not, they are in violation of federal law. Employers are responsible for conducting internal investigations of all sexual harassment complaints, and must kept the incident as confidential as possible.
An employee may not be fired, demoted, switched to another department or have their job be affected in any way because of sexual harassment charges. Victims have a legal right to file a complaint against the assailant and can seek damages for their pain and suffering.
Hiring a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Hawaii
In Hawaii, sexual harassment victims have a legal right to file a formal complaint. If the matter is not resolved internally or with the HCRC, victims may contact a sexual harassment lawyer for help. Sexual harassment attorneys fight for victims’ rights and ensure that the unwanted sexual conduct stops and never happens again.
Victims are often afraid to come forward because they think the harasser will make matters worse for them at work. However, matters will almost undoubtedly get worse if nothing is done to fix the situation. Victims are not allowed to have their jobs affected by filing a complaint, and should feel safe turning to a lawyer for assistance. With the help of a sexual harassment attorney, the perpetrator will be put to justice and the workplace will once again be free from hostility.
Sexual harassment victims in Hawaii may be eligible to receive a large compensation for their pain and suffering. Sexual harassment lawyers work hard to secure their clients the money damages they deserve and will not rest until the victims’ rights are upheld.
Remember, you have a right to work in a place that is free from sexual harassment. Staying quite about the incident will only ensure that the harassment continues or happens to someone else. Speak to a leading sexual harassment lawyer in Hawaii as soon as the harassment occurs to put an end to it swiftly and ensure that the perpetrator never harms another person again.
Call today to set up a meeting with one of our sexual harassment lawyers and ensure that you start a claim as soon as possible.