Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by The Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Therefore, the State of Vermont does consider sexual harassment to be illegal. The Vermont Department of Labor considers the following as examples of sexual harassment:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Lewd remarks
- Unwanted touching, hugs, or kisses
- Requests for sexual favors
- Sending sexually explicit messages, photos, or videos
- Unwelcome sexual jokes and banter
If an employer or someone else in the workplace is engaging in any of the behaviors listed above and it is a term or condition for work, affects employment, or creates a hostile or offensive work environment, they may be accused of sexual harassment. Because the State of Vermont does view sexual harassment as illegal behavior, an employer who harasses someone in their workplace could face serious consequences if they were found guilty of sexual harassment. Some of those consequences include:
- Disciplinary action
- Required to provide a victim with financial relief
- Criminal penalties
What should an employee in Vermont do if they were sexually harassed at work?
When sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, it should be reported immediately to prevent the behavior from continuing. Complaints can be made with an employee’s supervisor, their human resources (HR) department, or someone else in the company that is equipped to address complaints of this nature. In addition to filing a complaint with someone who holds a managerial position, an employee who works for an employer who has 15 or more employees can also file a complaint with the following agencies:
- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Vermont Human Rights Commission, if the employee works for a Vermont State agency
When a sexual harassment complaint is lodged with the EEOC or the Human Rights Commission, an investigation will likely be conducted to determine if the allegations hold any truth.
Should a sexual harassment victim hire a Vermont sexual harassment attorney?
It always benefits an employee who is a victim of workplace sexual harassment to at least consult with a Vermont sexual harassment lawyer. An attorney can recognize when an employee has a valid complaint and if they should consider taking civil action against their employer. In some cases, an employee may be entitled to recover compensation from their employer for the impact the incident has had on them both personally and professionally.
Therefore, if an employee in Burlington, Essex, South Burlington, or any other city located within Vermont was sexually harassed at work, they can contact an attorney who can help them decide what their next steps should be and if that should include filing a civil lawsuit. To connect with a sexual harassment lawyer who is qualified to handle sexual harassment complaints, simply contact USAttorneys.com for assistance.