Despite reaching many milestones in human rights, sexual harassment is still something that affects lives, careers, and reputations. With more and more victims becoming more comfortable speaking out, more conversations about sexual harassment are being had, bringing it from the shadows out into the open.
Employers in the state of Arizona are technically not legally required to have a strict protocol on how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, but they can still be held liable for a wide variety of misconduct, even if they feel like they had nothing to do with it.
Arizona’s laws on sexual harassment
All states are subject to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment, but this act only applies to companies with 15 or more employees, leaving some states with limitations on which claims of sexual harassment get taken seriously.
In the Copper State, however, the Arizona Civil Rights Act applies to any company with at least one employee, meaning that victims of sexual harassment in small companies will want to refer to the state’s laws in their suits. The act applies to all companies in the public and private sectors.
Defining sexual harassment
There are endless ways sexual harassment can take place, but generally speaking, they fall under two categories:
- “Quid-pro-quo” sexual harassment where an employer or high ranking employee tries to offer a victim a tangible job benefit in exchange for sexual favors
- “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment where a victim is subject to unwanted sexual advances, touching, stalking, rude and sexual comments, etc.
Quid pro-quo cases are generally a little easier to define than hostile work environments as the workplace can is a very socially dynamic place, making many claims of sexual harassment sound vague, circumstantial, or anecdotal.
What compensation can victims be entitled to?
In the summer of 2020, 3 women in Arizona were able to get $1.35 million paid out by the government because of ongoing sexual harassment in the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS).
The man convicted in the case, who was the women’s boss, was accused of watching the victim on surveillance video, leaving inappropriate notes, and making inappropriate comments, so these are examples of some things taken seriously by the courts.
Claims of suggestive eye contact, asking someone on a date, non-sexual compliments, or other things of that nature are generally not considered legitimate.
Are you dealing with a sexual harassment lawsuit in Arizona?
If you’ve found yourself in the middle of a sexual harassment lawsuit, know that a veteran attorney experienced in these cases is the best way to protect your rights. There are time limits on when victims can file lawsuits, so it’s crucial not to waste time if you want to follow through. From Phoenix to Flagstaff, lawyers are waiting to assist you.