Illinois Sexual Harassment Law
Since you spend so much of your time in the workplace, what goes on there is relative to your overall happiness and well-being. In an ideal world, workplace environments would be supportive and respectful. But this is not an ideal world. If you are in a workplace atmosphere that is hostile or where you are sexually harassed, it is likely taking a toll on your overall outlook on life. In the state of Illinois, sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, and you do not have to put up with it.
On a federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against a worker based on their gender. Encompassed in the Civil Rights Act is sexual harassment in the workplace. But Illinois state law also has special provisions in place to prohibit sexual harassment. The Human Rights Act of Illinois strictly proscribes any employer, regardless of whether they are private or public, from harassing an employee or applicant due to their gender.
Companies or employers with more than 15 employees are not legally allowed to discriminate due to someone’s gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. Both employees and paid or unpaid interns are covered under the Human Rights Act of Illinois.
What types of conduct constitute sexual harassment in Illinois?
There are many forms of harassment and conduct that fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment. In general, a person is sexually harassed under two main categories.
Quid pro quo
If an employer requests a sexual favor and implies that an employee will gain some advantage for complying, that would be a case of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Likewise, if an employer makes a request for a sexual act or favor and either implicitly or explicitly makes it known, that not to comply, can lead to negative consequences such as being terminated from their position, demoted, or even reprimanded for poor work-related performance, then that would constitute a quid pro quo sexual harassment situation.
Hostile work atmosphere
If a worker seeks to intimidate or to make someone uncomfortable due to sexual misconduct in a pervasive and systematic manner, then they are creating a hostile workplace atmosphere, which is another form of sexual harassment. Examples of sexual misconduct would be making lewd comments or remarks, sexual innuendos, derogatory statements, showing explicitly sexual material, or intimidating someone because of their gender or sexual orientation.
What to do if you are sexually harassed in Illinois
If you are the victim of sexual harassment in Illinois, then the first step you have to take is to make the harasser know that their conduct is inappropriate. You will then want to file a claim with your employer – either through your supervisor, boss, or the HR department. The next step you will want to take is to hire an Illinois sexual harassment lawyer to help you file a claim in court. You can either file a state case, or you can file a federal case through the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. To lend credence to your case, you might want to consider doing both, depending on what your Illinois sexual harassment attorney recommends.
Are you entitled to compensation from your employer?
If you have been sexually harassed in Illinois, you do have the right to sue your employer. If you have suffered economic or noneconomic damages, then you can seek litigation to receive compensation for your injuries. The types of things that you might be entitled to are:
- Back pay of your lost wages, or payment if you were passed up for a raise, times three
- Being reinstated to your position
- Compensation for any fringe benefits that you didn’t receive
- Monetary damages for your emotional distress
- To require that your employer engage in sexual harassment training for their workforce
- To have your attorney’s fees and court costs covered
If you are a victim of sexual harassment in Illinois, you do have resources to make it stop and to be compensated for what you have lost. You don’t have to subject yourself to workplace sexual harassment or to a hostile work environment. Consult USAttorneys.com to find a local Illinois sexual harassment attorney, find out if you have a case for sexual harassment, and for information about how to get compensated and get back to work.