To date, there are no laws at the state level in Georgia to prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace for those who work in the private sector. If a company employs more than 15 workers in the state of Georgia, however, then harassment is prohibited due to federal law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act proscribes discriminating against anyone based on their gender, and that law encompasses the prohibition of sexual harassment.
What constitutes sexual harassment under federal law?
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance that intimidates, threatens, or creates a hostile working environment. There are typically three ways that someone can be a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.
“Quid pro quo” is a legal term that means “if you do something for me, I will do something for you.” In terms of sexual harassment, this happens when a supervisor or employer requests a sexual favor, and in return promises you an employment advantage, such as a promotion or other employment perks. It might also mean that someone intimidates you by leading you to believe that if a person of authority requests a sexual favor and you do not comply, then you might be terminated, demoted, or given a poor work performance review. Any coercion for a sexual request that has a bearing on your work status is considered sexual harassment.
Creating a hostile working environment is another form of sexual harassment. This happens when someone in your workplace pervasively and systematically intimidates, offends, or makes you feel threatened in a sexual nature, and that behavior leads to hostile working conditions for you and affects your work performance and livelihood. Sexual misconduct in the form of derogatory remarks, sexual innuendos, explicit photos or even pervasive lewd comments are all ways that someone can create a hostile working atmosphere, which is also considered to be harassment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits discrimination against someone due to their gender, their transgender status, their marital status or their sexual orientation by not promoting an employee, not hiring someone, or terminating an employee on the basis of those factors.
Steps you need to take to stop sexual harassment in the workplace
If you are the victim of workplace sexual harassment, then the first step to take is to notify your employer, your supervisor, and the employee who is perpetrating the misconduct, to make them aware of the harassment. You should also file a claim with the employer and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding the harassment.
The next critical step is to hire a Georgia sexual harassment lawyer. Although there are no state laws related specifically to sexual harassment, a Georgia sexual harassment lawyer can file a suit in federal court based on the Civil Rights Act. If you are found to have been the victim of sexual harassment, then your employer might be liable to pay compensatory damages, and – if the harassment was egregious enough – punitive ones. But you will need clear documentation to prove your case.
Although there are no specific Georgia state sexual harassment laws in place, you still have the right not to be harassed under federal law. To make sure that the harassment stops and that you don’t suffer any economic losses because of it, contact USAttorneys.com to find a Georgia-based sexual harassment lawyer to prove your case in court. You have the right to be treated with respect and to work in a non-threatening and non-hostile work environment, so you don’t have to suffer the harassment. There are resources out there to protect you and get you back to work.