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What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome and unwanted action, comment or behavior that is of a sexual nature. By law, it is considered a form of discrimination 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.”
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can be mild to severe and can also range in frequency. Some victims suffer a series of milder, unwanted transgressions, such as vulgar or lewd jokes at work that are not geared toward anyone specifically, while others suffer a one-time serious transgression, such as a violent attack or rape. Regardless of the individual circumstances, sexual harassment is prohibited by Mississippi state law and anyone found guilty will be held accountable for their actions. The following are a few examples of sexual misconduct at a workplace.
• Lew comments or jokes regarding a person’s appearance, body, or general sexual statement
• Quid pro quo (this for that) sexual requests, in which someone is offered a promotion, raise or other benefit in exchange for sexual favors
• Inappropriate touching, which includes hugging, kissing, groping, or fondling
• Email or letter that is sexual in nature
• Photographs that are sexually inappropriate
• Constant propositions for a date/sex
• Physical attack (hitting, shoving, rape)
Victims of Sexual Harassment
Anyone can be the victim of sexual harassment in Mississippi. Victims may be men or women, of any age, race, religious background or sexual orientation, and so can the harassers. Victims can be harassed by supervisors, co-workers or even persons that do not work at the specific workplace. In addition, victims don’t have to be directly harassed in order to be affected by unwanted sexual behaviors. A person that overhears a lewd joke or sees a sexually inappropriate behavior may also file sexual harassment charges.
What Happens When a Hostile Work Environment is Created?
When a victim of sexual harassment has to suffer in a hostile work environment because of the offender’s actions, they cannot carry on their normal activities or job duties as they regularly would. Victims begin to feel insecure, embarrassed, intimidated and afraid and may suffer a decline in their performance at work. Sometimes, offenders harass multiple workers and create a negative environment for everyone, even those not directly affected by the behaviors. For this reason, it is imperative that any victim of sexual harassment or a co-worker that witnesses the incidents, speak up and turn to a legal professional for assistance.
Mississippi Law Against Sexual Harassment
Mississippi state law regards sexual harassment as a form of wrongful workplace discrimination. An employer may not terminate a person’s position for filing sexual harassment charges under federal law. Both state and federal law ban discrimination or termination based on gender, pregnancy, age, race or national origin.
Those who are terminated from their positions may be eligible for compensation and damages. Anyone who has been the target of sexual harassment in Mississippi has the right to seek legal counsel. Employment lawyers are available to fight for victims’ rights and ensure that the perpetrator is put to justice.
Working with a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Mississippi
Although the victims of sexual harassment have rights, they may be hesitant to come forth with allegations out of fear that the offender will retaliate. However, Mississippi law protects victims of sexual harassment against retaliation. If you or someone you know is getting harassed at work, speak to a leading Mississippi sexual harassment lawyer right away.
The victims of sexual harassment have a right to a workplace free from hostility and negativity and sexual harassment attorneys work day and night to make sure this doesn’t happen. Victims may also be entitled to a large compensation for their pain and suffering and sexual harassment lawyers do whatever it takes to ensure victims obtain the maximum possible benefits.
If left alone, harassers generally don’t stop their behaviors. They don’t care about victims’ rights or if they are causing harm. However, hewn you have a leading sexual harassment attorney working on your side, the perpetrator will be brought to justice and the workplace will once again be made free of hostility.
Speak to a top sexual harassment lawyer in Mississippi right away to file a case and protect your rights.