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Defining Sexual Harassment in Tennessee
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 specifically to mean 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.”
There are many types of sexual harassment behaviors that can range in severity and frequency. The incident can be as mild as a sexual 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 and seek legal help to ensure that they do not suffer in a hostile work environment.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment conduct varies widely; however, all forms of sexual harassment are against the law in Tennessee. If you or someone you know has experienced any of the following types of behavior, seek help right away:
• Joke or comment about someone’s body, clothing, physical appearance, sexual orientation or sex life
• General sexual comments that are offensive in nature
• Spreading rumors about someone’s personal sex life
• Repeatedly asking someone out on a date or for sexual favors
• Sending 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 (usually a promotion or raise) in exchange for sexual favors
• Touching someone inappropriately and without their consent (i.e. hugging, kissing, groping, or fondling)
• Rape or attempt at rape
Victims of Sexual Harassment
While the majority of victims of sexual harassment are women, anyone can be the target of sexual harassment. Both victims and harassers can be of any gender, race, age, ethnicity, religious background, or sexual orientation. In addition, victims don’t always have to be the individuals that are directly affected by the unwanted sexual behaviors. Anyone who takes offense to another person’s actions or comments at work can file a sexual harassment complaint.
Why Come Forward with Sexual Harassment Allegations?
When sexual harassment occurs, victims are left feeling embarrassed, isolated or even afraid. Their performance at work can decline and they may feel trapped or as though they have no one to turn to. However, there is help for all victims of sexual harassment. Victims have rights and should never keep information about sexual harassment to themselves. Harassers generally never stop their behaviors on unless action is taken against them. By coming forward, victims can ensure that not only will the harassment against them stop immediately, but any future victims will also be prevented from getting hurt.
Sexual Harassment Laws in Tennessee
Victims of sexual harassment in Tennessee are protected by both federal and state law. Those who have been hurt by unwanted sexual behaviors can turn to a supervisor or Human Resources representative for help first and foremost. If nothing is done to correct the situation or if the harassment persists, victims may seek legal help.
In Tennessee, it is also against the law for someone to retaliate against an employee who refuses sexual advances, files a sexual harassment complaint or cooperates in a sexual harassment investigation. In addition, employers in Tennessee are responsible for conducting internal investigations of any sexual harassment allegations and must also cooperate with any federal investigations.
Working with a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Tennessee
Sexual harassment is not tolerated in Tennessee. Victims have a right to come forward and seek legal help to ensure that the offender is stopped and that the unwanted behaviors cease. If you or someone you know at work have been the victims of sexual harassment, turn to a sexual harassment attorney for assistance immediately.
Everyone in Tennessee has a right to work in an environment that is free of hostility, intimidation and fear. If those rights are violated in any way, victims may be eligible for compensation. Sexual harassment lawyers work diligently to ensure that victims obtain the maximum possible money damages for their pain and suffering.
Don’t allow yourself or anyone else to suffer at the hands of a sexual offender any longer. Turn to an acclaimed sexual harassment attorney in Tennessee as soon as possible to fight for your rights and ensure that the perpetrator is brought to justice.