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What is Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome and unwanted conduct that is sexual in nature. 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 the following: “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.”
Examples of Sexual Harassment
There are several types of behaviors that may be constituted as sexual harassment. Behaviors may range from relatively mild to extremely severe. Examples of sexual harassment include:
• Verbal harassment: Any comment about a person’s body, clothing, appearance, general sexual jokes, sexual references, threats that are unwanted or offensive in nature, quid pro quo (this for that) requests, or repeatedly asking someone out or for sexual favors.
• Non-verbal harassment: Stalking a person, looking someone up and down in a sexual manner, or making obscene or sexual gestures or facial expressions.
• Visual/written harassment: Any letter email involving unwanted sexual advancements or threats; putting up pictures or screen savers that are sexual in nature.
• Physical harassment: The inappropriate and unwanted touching of another person (i.e. kissing, hugging or groping) or a violent attack, such as rape.
Sexual Harassment Victims and Perpetrators
Both victims and harassers may be of any gender, age, race and sexual orientation. Victims and harassers may even be of the same sex. In addition, victims can also be people who are not directly affected by the unwanted sexual conduct. Anyone who overhears a lewd joke or witnesses inappropriate behavior may file a formal complaint of sexual harassment.
Perpetrators can be supervisors, co-workers, contractors or even non-employees. They may work alone or in a team and harm one or multiple victims. Usually, perpetrators don’t stop their behaviors on their own, so it is up to you to file a complaint against them to ensure that they don’t harm you or anyone else again.
Sexual Harassment Laws in Virginia
Sexual harassment charges in Virginia are taken very seriously. Virginia has specific laws regarding sexual harassment to ensure that a victim’s rights are protected. Not only is it illegal for sexual harassment to occur at the workplace, but it is also against Virginia and federal law to retaliate against someone after they reject sexual advances, file charges of sexual harassment, or participate in an investigation. Victims are entitled to seek legal help and may even qualify for compensation.
Employers in Virginia must also comply with any sexual harassment investigations and must thoroughly investigate complaints in-house to ensure that the offender is stopped. Anyone who is accused of sexual harassment in Virginia must work with investigators and answer any and all questions as truthfully as possible.
Working with a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Virginia
Everyone in Virginia is entitled to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment and discrimination. Regardless of the individual situation, victims have a right to come forward with accusations and ensure that the perpetrator is stopped. If you or someone you know has been targeted by a sexual offender, seek the help of a sexual harassment attorney in Virginia right away.
With a leading sexual harassment lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that your rights will be upheld. Sexual harassment attorneys know that different sexual harassment cases must be dealt with in varying ways, so they will thoroughly investigate the incidents at your workplace to ensure that any sexual perpetrator is apprehended and held accountable for their actions.
Unfortunately, many sexual harassment victims do not come forward because they are either embarrassed to talk about the incident or are afraid that the harasser will retaliate and make the workplace even more hostile. The reality of the matter is that harassers generally do not stop their behaviors of their own accord, and if legal action isn’t taken, there is a very great chance that the unwanted sexual advances will continue, get worse, or the harasser will turn to another victim.
Don’t let this happen to you or to someone you care about. If you or a co-worker have been the victims of sexual harassment in Virginia, speak to a top team of sexual harassment lawyers as soon as possible to make sure the perpetrator is brought to justice.