Arkansas – December 16, 2020
Allegations of sexual harassment were cited in a claim against law enforcement in Little Rock stating a supervisor retaliated against an employee for reporting ill behavior. The requested damages seek the inclusion of a a comprehensive sexual harassment policy to be developed and followed by all employees, regardless of ranking. Sexual harassment in the workplace is nothing new, but the protections from its continued growth continue to expand. The latest in favor of employee protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, addressed in the 2020 Supreme Court of the United States ruling in favor of gay, lesbian, and transgender employee rights from discrimination based on sex.
The law addresses sexual harassment in the form of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature through authority figures demanding, or requiring sexual acts for preferential treatment including promotions, or to avoid negative actions at their job because they did not engage in the requests. In many cases these types of interactions can create a hostile work environment that may become more abusive as time goes by, and results in compromised work performance and the loss of career advancement.
There are occasions where the actions taken may not fall under protections of the Civil Rights Act, and in those cases an employment law attorney may be able to offer another means toward compensation when sexual harassment causes harm and damage to an employee. Victims must first be able to recognize sexual harassment in its many forms:
- Uninvited physical contact.
- Sexual assault.
- Displaying sexually explicit media, or objects.
- Intimidation through rude remarks that are gender-related.
- Offering promotions, special treatment, or limiting advancement and threatening termination based on requests and submission of sexual favors.
- Understated flirting, or sexually suggestive conversation.
Victims should insist the harasser stops the actions immediately and inform them they will be reported. Standard operating procedures include employer complaint mechanisms, or grievance systems that they should utilize, including complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Positive settlement awards may be the result of strong cases presented by experienced legal counsel.
Employers can be a strong influence to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, through clear communication to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated, and through their workplace culture of ethical interactions with employees. It is against the law for employers to retaliate against victims of harassment for voicing their disagreement with employment practices that discriminate based on sex, or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.
Seek legal counsel.
Victims of sexual harassment have legal options against sexual harassment, and seeking legal counsel is the first thing a victim should do after reporting the abuse through the proper channels where the incident took place.