Massachusetts Sexual Harassment Law
Work is stressful enough without the addition of someone making you feel threatened or intimidated. If you are unable to perform your work duties due to the inappropriate sexually-related behaviors of someone else, then that is legally considered sexual harassment in Massachusetts and it is strictly prohibited. Not only is discrimination and sexual harassment prohibited at the state level due to the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act, but it is also illegal at the federal level due to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating against anyone due to their gender, sexual identity, or gender identity. Massachusetts law defines “gender identity” as anything that is related to their behavior, appearance, and identity, regardless of whether it is physically alternating gender assignment or not. The Act applies to both private and public employers with more than six workers and strictly prohibits both discrimination and sexual harassment.
Being sexually harassed can be a series of behaviors or a single act of misconduct
There are times when sexual harassment happens in a series of behaviors or actions that are pervasive and repetitious enough to make someone uncomfortable and to intimidate them to the point where it creates a hostile work atmosphere. Although there are many behaviors that can constitute sexual harassment, some examples include sexual innuendos, unwelcome sexual advances, nonconsensual touching, derogatory comments or remarks, or displaying sexually explicit material. If it is enough to make any reasonable person feel offended, then it is sexual harassment. A “reasonable person” is a legal concept that means anyone else in the same situation would be equally offended by someone’s misconduct. If you can prove that someone’s actions created a hostile work atmosphere, then you have been sexually harassed.
An instance when sexual harassment is based on a one-time occurrence is if someone in a position of power or authority over you or your position makes sexual requests that you feel obligated to comply with for fear of retaliation or negative work consequences. “Quid pro quo” means “this for that,” and it is a kind of harassment where someone offers “this” if you do “that.” It can be an offer of a work-related perk or promotion, or explicitly or implicitly making you feel you have to agree to their request or suffer demotion, termination, or other negative job-related issues.
How to claim sexual harassment in Massachusetts
If you suffer sexual harassment in Massachusetts, then you do have many resources available to make it stop. The first step is to make the harasser aware that their behavior is both offensive and inappropriate and that it needs to end. From there, you should file a claim with your employer or your HR department as outlined in your company guidelines.
Once you have made the appropriate parties aware of the sexual harassment, you will want to hire a Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyer to make sure that you have the proper documentation to prove your case if your employer does not take the proper steps to rectify the situation. A Massachusetts sexual harassment attorney will know how to fill out the appropriate forms to prove your case in court should you need to.
Your lawyer will also be able to guide you through the complexity of proving your sexual harassment suit, and if necessary, find you the compensation that you are entitled to according to either state or federal law.
What am I entitled to if I can prove that I have been sexually harassed?
If you are the victim of sexual harassment, then you may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages, depending on what you have suffered and the actions that your company or place of business did or did not take to correct the situation. The only way to know for sure what you deserve is to find an experienced Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyer by visiting USAttorneys.com they can help you determine how to proceed and what you will need to prove your case in a court of law.