If you’ve recently experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in West Virginia, you may be trying to weigh out your options on how to proceed. The first thing you should do is make sure you’re safe. Next, get in touch with an experienced West Virginia sexual harassment attorney.
An attorney can tell you whether or not you have a legitimate case, lead you on your path towards justice, and potentially help you get compensation.
Since there are time limits on when you can go ahead with legal proceedings, don’t hesitate to contact your lawyer today.
Are there laws against sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is prohibited at both the federal and state level. Under Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964, all sex-based discrimination is banned in the workplace. Sexual harassment falls under this umbrella of discrimination.
Title VII’s provisions apply to all companies in the country with more than 15 or more employees – which may be limiting to victims in smaller companies.
At the state level, the West Virginia Human Rights Act also prohibits the same things to all public and private employers with more than 12 employers.
What exactly is “sexual harassment”?
Since almost all sexual harassment lawsuits fall into two categories, we can define sexual harassment by looking at these two main types:
- Quid-pro-quo sexual harassment
- Hostile work environment sexual harassment
Quid-pro-quo usually involves some type of power imbalance. Someone in a company, usually an employer or a high-ranking employee, attempts to trade a job benefit to a lower-ranking employee in exchange for sexual favors. For example, a boss telling an intern that he will give her a pay raise if she sleeps with him or performs a sexual act on him is quid-pro-quo sexual harassment.
A hostile work environment is when an employee is subject to some type of act that puts them in a sexually hostile environment. This can include, but is definitely not limited to:
- Unwanted touching
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Sexual assault or rape
- Stalking. Waiting around at someone’s car at the end of the day, spamming their phone, etc.
- Subjecting someone to unsolicited pornography or sexual photos
- Hostile, aggressive comments or insults
Some things that wouldn’t be taken seriously by the courts are:
- Asking someone out on a date
- Nonsexual compliments
- Suggestive eye contact
- Phoning someone to talk about work
Often times cases are thrown out when it’s revealed that the victim was in a consensual, long-term relationship with the perpetrator; It becomes difficult to ascertain that the act was done against the victim’s will rather than as a part of normal relationship functions.
Do you need help with a sexual harassment lawsuit in West Virginia?
If you’re wondering what to do next, don’t hesitate to call a qualified West Virginia sexual harassment lawyer today. Attorneys are waiting for you in all major cities and even small towns like Bethlehem.