Arkansas Sexual Harassment Law
When you are in the workplace, you have the right to feel comfortable and safe. But if someone is sexually harassing you, then neither of those feelings are possible. According to the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, employers cannot legally discriminate against an individual based on their sex. Also included in the act is a provision that it is illegal to discriminate against any woman who is pregnant, who has a baby, or who has a medical condition related to either childbirth or pregnancy. Although the courts have ruled in Island v. Buena Vista Resort, 352 Ark. 548 (2003) that the Act strictly prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment is not currently expressly prohibited as outlined in the Arkansas Civil Rights Act itself.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, it is most likely that the courts will defer to the federal statutes under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which strictly proscribes sexual harassment in the workplace and seeks to compensate harassment victims and to stop it from occurring. To stop sexual harassment in your workplace, it is imperative that you hire an Arkansas sexual harassment lawyer to handle your claim.
What constitutes sexual harassment in Arkansas?
Although it’s not included under a specific Arkansas law, it is illegal to sexually discriminate against an individual because it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A person has the right not to be sexually harassed while in the workplace by anyone – from another employee to a boss or supervisor. Many things constitute sexually-harassing behavior; among them are:
- Verbal or unwelcome requests for sexual favors and lewd sounds or remarks
- Any physical touching that is either in gesture or actual
- Any visual pictures that are sexually explicit in content
- Either explicitly or implicitly asking for sexual favors to gain a position, or preventing someone from gaining a position if they refuse a request for a sexual favor
In general, any conduct that is sexual in nature that creates either a hostile, uncomfortable or intimidating work environment and hinders someone from work performance can be considered sexual harassment.
What are the various types of workplace sexual harassment claims?
According to federal law, you can be the victim of workplace sexual harassment in two different ways.
Quid Pro Quo
If you are a victim of “quid pro quo,” that means that you have been asked to perform sexual favors and that your job advancement is reliant upon appeasing the request. It can also mean that you have been requested to provide a sexual favor, and you know that if you refuse, your job or position can be in jeopardy. “Quid pro quo” literally means “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens when your position or favors within your company are based on whether you succumb to sexual requests, and according to federal law it is illegal.
Hostile Workplace Environment
If you are the victim of a hostile workplace environment, it means that another employee has behaved in such a way that you feel sexually threatened or intimidated. If another employee has made you feel uncomfortable or their conduct is sexually inappropriate, you may have a case for sexual harassment.
What to do if you are a victim of sexual harassment in Arkansas
The first step to take if you are a victim of harassment in Arkansas is to hire an Arkansas sexual harassment attorney. Because there are no laws related to sexual harassment explicitly written at the state level, it is important that you have a lawyer who can defend you against retaliation for filing a claim. It is also imperative that you notify either your employer or your human resources department that you have been a victim.
Although there are no specific state laws about sexual harassment in the workplace, you are afforded protection against it according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This means that you can file a claim directly with the Equal Opportunities Employment Commission.
The best way to get the harassment to stop is to hire a qualified Arkansas sexual harassment attorney to plead your case in court. They will know about court precedents, whether it is better to sue at the state or federal level to get the harassment to stop, and to help you be compensated for anything that you have lost due to being a victim of sexual harassment. Head over to USAttorneys.com to find and speak to an experienced Arkansas sexual harassment attorney to ensure that you can restore your workplace to an environment where you can prosper.