Maine Sexual Harassment Law
For most people in Maine, their work is more than just somewhere they punch a clock and get a paycheck. Many find great satisfaction in advancing and building their career. If you are being denied the right to advance – or even worse, being sexually harassed at work – then you may be having a hard time finding satisfaction in your job.
It is illegal for any employer in the state of Maine to discriminate against someone based on their gender, pregnancy status, any medical conditions due to their pregnancy and childbirth, or their sexual orientation, which includes gender identity and expression. It is also illegal for anyone to be harassed in Maine due to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the federal level.
The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits anyone from discriminating or harassing someone based on sex, and it covers both private and public employers, regardless of how many people they employ. There are many ways that a person can be discriminated against and sexually harassed, and if you are a victim, you do have many resources available to make the abuse stop.
What does “sexual harassment” mean in legal terms?
Sexual harassment is typically not one behavior or isolated incident; rather, it is a systematic way that an employee or supervisor intimidates and threatens someone, enough so that they create what is legally called a “hostile work environment.” To be considered a hostile work environment, the misconduct has to be repetitious and relentless – so much so that it makes a worker feel uncomfortable and interferes with their ability to work in the capacity that they are supposed to.
Behaviors that constitute sexual harassment can vary widely, but some examples are sexual innuendos, unwelcome sexual advances, derogatory comments or remarks based on sex or gender, nonconsensual touching, and displaying sexually explicit material or images.
The other kind of sexual harassment might be based on just one incident, and it’s called “quid pro quo.” This is a Latin term that means “you do something for me and I will do something for you.” Quid pro quo harassment happens when a supervisor or boss explicitly or implicitly makes it known that you have to engage in sexual favors to either further your position at work or to save it. If someone who holds a place of authority over you at work either threatens your position if you don’t acquiesce to their sexual advance or they offer you a perk, that constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment.
How to handle a situation where you are the victim of sexual harassment
Many people don’t report sexual harassment for fear that it might make the situation worse or that they will be retaliated against if they say something. The reality is that the only way to protect yourself and your standing at work is to speak up and tell both the harasser that the behavior is inappropriate and that it is making you uncomfortable, and to file a complaint with your boss or your HR department. If you are fearful of repercussions, the best way to prevent yourself from any further suffering is to hire a Maine sexual harassment lawyer to help you follow the guidelines necessary to substantiate a claim.
If your report falls on deaf ears, then you do have recourse to take your employer to court both at the federal and state levels. Your Maine sexual harassment lawyer can assist you in filing a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Employment Commission to initiate a federal case against your employer.
Can your employer be held liable?
If you can prove that you not only made your employer and the harasser aware of the harassment and that they did nothing to make the situation better, then you might be able to hold your employer liable in court. Your employer may be responsible for both compensatory and punitive damages, depending on how much you suffered emotionally and economically as a result of the harassment.
The only way to know for sure whether you have a case is to find an experienced Maine sexual harassment attorney at USAttorneys.com and ensure that you are getting the best advice possible to save yourself from any further negative consequences due to the situation.