Ft. Lauderdale, FL- Have you ever been sexually harassed at work? Was it just one inappropriate comment or lewd joke? Or, were your repeatedly subjected to sexually-charged comments or unwanted touching?
When you are at your job, you should feel comfortable and be allowed to work in an environment free from harassment. But everyday thousands of men and women go to work in an environment rife with inappropriate behavior and hostility based on their gender, sexual orientation, and race. If you are being sexually harassed by a coworker, you must report the harasser to your employer. And they must take additional action to stop the harassment and punish the offender.
If your employer fails to protect you or appropriately discipline your harasser, you have the right to contact a sexual harassment attorney and take additional legal action. If the harasser and your employer’s behavior was egregious enough or you were retaliated against you can and should pursue compensation for your emotional anguish and loss of wages. But getting compensation requires you and your attorney prove the harassment took place and/or you were punished for speaking out. This can complex and somewhat difficult since it pits one person’s word against another’s.
If you want to sue for compensation your Florida sexual harassment attorney must be able to prove the harassment was based on the victim’s protected class, the behavior was unwanted and it was repeated or pervasive.
You must prove the sexual harassment was unwanted and offensive. Lewd jokes, displaying pornographic images, making sexual comments about a person’s appearance or dress, or making unwanted passes are all examples of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment also includes soliciting sexual favors in exchange for raise, promotions or days off—this is called quid pro quo sexual harassment.
When you are able to prove the behavior you were subjected to was offensive, you must also be able to prove it was unwanted. If you joined in on the jokes or commentary, then it is difficult for you to prove the harassment was unwanted.
Also key is proving that the harassment created a hostile work environment. Hostility doesn’t constitute direct punishment; instead it makes it difficult for you to work because of the humiliation and ridicule.
And, finally, you must be able to prove the sexual harassment was repeated and pervasive. A single dirty joke or request for a sexual favor is not cause for a sexual harassment suit. For a legitimate harassment claim, the inappropriate incidents must occur on more than one occasion. Although the courts don’t designate a specific number of time harassment must occur for it to be considered pervasive. If the incidents were particularly severe, then you will likely need to provide fewer examples of your harassment in court.
Before filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you must give your employer time to investigate your allegations and punish the harasser appropriately. Should your employer fail to prevent future incidents of harassment, then it is time to contact a Fort Lauderdale sexual harassment attorney.