Montana Sexual Harassment Law
Your workplace responsibilities can be stressful enough on their own – the last thing that anyone needs is to have the additional stress of being threatened or discriminated against at the office. If you are being sexually harassed, it is hard to find any real work satisfaction or even to enjoy showing up to work in the first place. If the harassment is holding you back or decreasing your work performance, then you should know that you do not have to subject yourself to it. There are laws at both the state and federal levels to stop workplace harassment.
The Montana Human Rights Act is a specific law that strictly prohibits anyone from discriminating against an individual in the workplace due to their sex. Unlike other states that have guidelines about the minimum number of workers for an employer that they govern, the Montana Human Rights Act not only encompasses all workers (both private and public); it also has provisions to ensure that it is illegal to retaliate against anyone who makes a claim for sexual harassment.
What constitutes sexual harassment in Montana?
In Montana, there are various ways that a person can be discriminated against and times when that discrimination can be labeled sexual harassment. “Quid pro quo” is one situation where a supervisor or boss will make a request for some sexual act or favor. They also make it implicitly or explicitly known that if an employee doesn’t comply with the request, they could face negative consequences. It can also be that the employer makes a request in return for advancement or a promotion. Both instances would qualify as quid pro quo sexual harassment case.
Another kind of harassment is when a worker makes the environment so hostile that it inhibits other employees from performing in their capacity. A hostile workplace isn’t one where an employee causes just one incident that makes someone uncomfortable. It is a systematic and pervasive way that someone repeatedly threatens, intimidates or offends someone enough to hinder their ability to work.
Behaviors that can create a hostile work atmosphere are things like unwelcome sexual advances, sexual innuendos, derogatory comments, nonconsensual touching, and lewd sounds or jokes. Any misconduct that is meant to make someone feel sexually threatened or intimidated falls under the category of sexual harassment.
What to do to make the harassment stop
There are guidelines that every company should have in place for handling a sexual harassment claim. If you are being harassed, the first place to start is to let your supervisor or boss and the harasser know that their behavior is offensive and demand that it stops. Although retaliation is illegal against anyone who files a claim for sexual harassment, it is a good idea to hire a Montana sexual harassment lawyer to protect you and to cover your bases.
If your employer does nothing to make the situation better once you have made the behavior known, then you do have the opportunity to make a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the federal level. You can do it alone, but since it can be complex, having your Montana sexual harassment attorney guide you through the claim process is the best way to get it filed correctly.
Is my employer liable if I have been sexually harassed?
If you are the victim of sexual harassment and you have made it known, then you might be able to hold your employer liable. If you can prove that you let the employer know of the abuse and that they did nothing to improve the situation or make it stop, then they can be held liable in court. You would have to prove that the situation caused you to suffer damages – in the form of either noneconomic damages (things like emotional distress), or economic damages (like lost wages, failure to get promoted, or not being granted bonuses that you earned).
Since you will have to have the proper documentation to prove your case, the best place to start is to consult USAttorneys.com to find an experienced Montana sexual harassment attorney to walk you through the process. Your lawyer can help you protect your position and get you both the compensatory damages – and in some instances, the punitive compensation – that you are entitled to. Find a lawyer at USAttorneys.com today for a consultation to get the harassment to stop and get back to work in a secure workplace environment.