Sexual harassment can occur in a wide variety of ways. In 2020, Delsa Brooke Sanderson sued the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) in Cheyenne for sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination.
Sanderson, a state trooper, claimed to have been unfairly demoted because she had complained about her treatment. She alleged that the WHP was spreading rumors about her being sexually promiscuous, referring to her as the “division bicycle,” implying that all her colleagues were “riding” her.
She also alleged that she was being socially ostracised; ignored at parties, left out of company functions, and excluded from meals. Eventually, when she reached her limits, Sanderson told one of her superiors to “stop being an asshole.” This is what caused her demotion and prompted her to sue the department in an attempt to be compensated.
Ultimately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission threw out Sanderson’s lawsuit because the evidence didn’t prove any conduct that was severe or pervasive enough. Additionally, she made an error by reporting inconsistencies in her claim. Initially, she claimed that the WHP retaliated against her with a poor performance report because she told them she was suing them. But in her lawsuit, she alleged she was demoted because she complained about being sexually harassed.
These two inconsistencies cost Sanderson the lawsuit, and they highlight the importance of a solid attorney and legal plan.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in Wyoming, don’t waste any time. Get in touch with an experienced lawyer today.
So what is sexual harassment?
As we can see, sexual harassment can happen in any number of ways, but generally, they’re broken up into two categories:
- Hostile work environment (What Delsa Brooke Sanderson was alleging)
- Quid-pro-quo sexual harassment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment is when someone is subject to any sort of act that puts them in a hostile environment, such as:
- Rude, sexualized comments and insults
- Unwanted sexual advances
Quid-pro-quo sexual harassment is when a boss or higher-ranking employee tries to exchange sexual favors with another employee for some type of job benefit, like a pay raise or promotion.
Are there laws against sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is illegal at both the state and federal level. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits all sex-based discrimination in every public and private company with 15 or more employees.
At the state level, The Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Act of 1965 prohibits all sexual harassment for any company with more than 2 employees.
If you’ve experienced sexual harassment, know that it is illegal and that you have options. If you have a case, you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation can include:
- Front pay
- Back pay
- Getting rehired/reinstated
- Punitive damages like defamation or pain and suffering.
If you need help with your sexual harassment lawsuit, get in touch with a qualified Wyoming-based sexual harassment lawyer right away.