Click your county to be connected with a local attorney
Defining Sexual Harassment in Maryland
Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination that violates 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 take many forms and range in severity and frequency. It can be as mild as a lewd joke to as severe as an attempt at rape. The main thing to remember is that sexual harassment is unwelcome, and victims have a right to file a complaint to ensure that they do not suffer in a hostile work environment.
Types of Sexual Harassment
There are many different types of sexual harassment behaviors and actions. Below are some examples of sexual harassment:
• Joke about someone’s body, clothing, physical appearance, or sex life
• General sexual comments that are offensive in nature
• Repeatedly asking someone out on a date or for sexual favors
• Sending inappropriate and sexual emails
• Making obscene or inappropriate gestures or facial expressions
• Quid pro quo (this for that) requests in which a victim is offered some form of benefit in exchange for sexual favors
• Touching someone inappropriately and without their consent (i.e. hugging, kissing, groping, or fondling)
• Rape or attempt at rape
Who are the Victims of Sexual Harassment?
While the majority of victims of sexual harassment are women, anyone can be the target of sexual discrimination. Victims can be of any gender, race, age, ethnicity, religious background, or sexual orientation. Victims don’t always have to be the individuals that are directly affected by the offensive and unwanted behaviors. Anyone who takes offense to another person’s actions at work can file sexual harassment complaints.
Why Speak Up?
When sexual harassment occurs, victims are left feeling embarrassed, alone or even afraid. Their performance at work can decline and they may feel as though they are isolated and have no one to turn to. However, it is important for victims to realize that they have rights and should never keep information about sexual harassment to themselves. Harassers rarely ever stop their behaviors on their own. By coming forward, victims can ensure that not only will the harassment against them cease, but any future victims will be prevented from getting hurt.
Laws Against Sexual Harassment in Maryland
Victims of sexual harassment in Maryland are protected by both federal and state law. In Maryland, retaliation against an employee who either files a sexual harassment complaint or cooperates in a sexual harassment investigation is prohibited by law. In addition, employers are responsible for conducting internal investigations of any sexual harassment complaints and must also cooperate with any federal investigations.
Anyone who has been the victim of sexual harassment in Maryland has a right to seek legal help. The victim should first speak directly to the offender and make sure the perpetrator knows their actions are unwelcome. If they don’t stop immediately, the victim may speak to a supervisor or Human Resources representative to make sure the behaviors stop. If the incident remains unresolved, the victim may take legal action and contact a sexual harassment lawyer.
Working with a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Maryland
If you or someone you know at work have been the victims of sexual harassment in Maryland, turn to a sexual harassment attorney for assistance immediately. Victims of sexual harassment have a legal right to work in an environment that is free of hostility and fear. If those rights are violated in any way, victims may be eligible for compensation. Sexual harassment lawyers do whatever it takes to ensure victims obtain the maximum damages for their pain and suffering and work hard to make sure the perpetrator is put to justice.
Sexual harassment attorneys make it their mission to ensure that victims’ rights are upheld. If you wait too long to take legal action, the harassment may worsen or someone else can become a target. Don’t suffer at the hands of a sexual offender any longer, turn to an acclaimed sexual harassment lawyer in Maryland as soon as possible to ensure that the behaviors top immediately and that they never happen again.