The North Dakota Human Rights Act prohibits any employer from discriminating against an employee due to their sex. Also included within the act is the prohibition of engaging in sexually harassing behaviors. Unlike other states that limit their laws about discrimination and sexual harassment to larger companies, the North Dakota Human Rights Act covers all employees regardless of company size. You are also covered against sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you have kept quiet out of fear of retaliation, you should know that it is also illegal for any employer to retaliate against anyone who files a claim for sexual harassment.
What types of things are considered sexual harassment?
If someone makes a derogatory sexual remark, that does not constitute sexual harassment – even though it is offensive. But if someone pervasively and systematically makes you feel intimidated or threatened enough that they are creating a hostile environment, then that is considered sexual harassment and it is illegal. If you can prove that someone’s repetitious and offensive behavior is creating a hostile work environment that is hindering your work performance, then you do have the right to file a sexual harassment claim.
You must prove that it isn’t just you who is offended. To file a harassment claim, you have to prove that any “reasonable” person would find the behavior offensive enough to create a hostile work environment. The construct of “reasonable” person would be that any other reasonable person who was in the same position as you would also be offended by the misconduct.
The other kind of sexual harassment that someone might be the victim of is a single act or quid pro quo offer. When you are the victim of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, it means that someone who holds power over your position at work makes a sexual advance and either implicitly or explicitly tells you that your position is reliant on your compliance. In the same manner, if someone offers you a perk for a sexual favor, in an “if you do this, I will give you that” situation, that is also sexual harassment.
How to handle sexual harassment
If you are being sexually harassed, you do not have to remain silent. The first step you must take is to make your boss and the person who is harassing you aware of the misconduct and demand that it stop. If you are fearful of losing your status or position, it is a good idea to hire a North Dakota sexual harassment lawyer to ensure that you don’t suffer any retaliatory acts. Once you file a claim with your employer, you will also want to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the federal level.
If you can’t get the harassment to stop, then you might have to escalate the case. Your North Dakota sexual harassment attorney will help to guide you through the steps of initiating a lawsuit.
Can I hold my employer liable for damages?
If you can show that you not only made your employer aware of the situation and they did nothing, but also that you suffered losses due to their failure to act, then you can hold your employer liable for your damages. Likewise, if you do suffer retaliation, then they would be liable to compensate you for what you lost. In sexual harassment cases, you are entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. To ensure that you handle your sexual harassment case properly and to prove that your employer is liable, you will want to consult USAttorneys.com; they can connect you with an experienced North Dakota sexual harassment lawyer today to help you figure out the best way to handle your case going forward.