For most of the US, the work is virtually never finished when it comes to sexual harassment laws. Decades ago, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was considered all that was necessary to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, and protect victims when it happened.
As the years rolled by, however, most states decided that this federal law was insufficient and started adding their own laws at the state level as extra preventive measures against sexual harassment. This includes the District Of Columbia, which has the DC Human Rights Act. This prohibits “employment discrimination based on sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, breastfeeding, or reproductive health disorders), marital status, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression” (DC Code Sec. 2-1402.11). Discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment.
This means that if you were the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation via laws at both state and federal levels depending on your case.
Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act
In 2018, DC passed the Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Act which pertained to protecting the rights of wage workers who depend on tips for most of their living. However, a recent amendment expanded the act to protect workers from sexual harassment as well.
The amendment requires all employers of tipped wage workers to provide sexual harassment training, including managers, owners, and operators of the business. Training protocols can be obtained at the Department of Employment Services (DOES). These protocols have to have concrete policies on reporting and preventing incidents and provide copies of them to DOES
New employees have to receive in-person or online training within 90 days of being hired unless they’ve previously received training in the past two years, and managers have to attend in-person training once every two years.
Victims of sexual harassment can obtain compensation ina number of ways, including:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Being reinstated, rehired, promoted
- Punitive damages, (pain and suffering, etc)
- Compensation for legal fees
Generally, there are two main types of sexual harassment accusations:
- “Quid-pro-quo” sexual harassment, which is when someone tries to exchange a job benefit, like a pay raise or promotion, for sex or sexual favors. This usually involves a power imbalance between a boss or high ranking employee with a lower-ranking employee or intern.
- “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment, which is when a victim is subject to unwanted sexual advances, stalking, rude comments, and a whole host of other scenarios.
To begin the legal process, there are a number of different government bodies that you need to file claims through, and this is something an experienced attorney can help you with.
Do you need help with a sexual harassment lawsuit?
Time is of the essence with any lawsuit, so don’t waste any time. Lawyers are waiting to help you get compensation from Washington to Park View.