Ohio Sexual Harassment Law
Work isn’t always just about punching the clock and collecting a paycheck. For many Ohio workers, their career is a source of accomplishment and a definition of who they are. If you are being discriminated against at work – or worse, you are the victim of sexual harassment, it is likely taking the joy out of your daily routine and your dreams of advancement. If the harassment is happening, you need to know that it is illegal in Ohio.
Many workers chose to keep their abuse to themselves for fear of retaliation or thinking that making a claim will make it worse. But it is also illegal to retaliate against anyone who files a claim. This means you don’t have to suffer in silence; you do have protection.
According to the Ohio Civil Rights Act, it is strictly prohibited to discriminate against anyone due to their sex. Within the Act is a provision for sexual harassment as well. The Act governs any employer with more than four workers in both the private and public workforce. If you are employed in Ohio, you are also protected against sexual harassment at the federal level by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
What is legally considered sexual harassment?
To prove that you are being sexually harassed, it can’t just be that someone telling a derogatory joke that offended you. A victim of sexual harassment must prove that someone is systematically and pervasively engaging in behaviors that are meant to threaten and intimidate to the extent that It is creating a hostile work environment and that it is hindering their ability to perform their work duties. The offensive behavior must be repetitious enough to hinder someone’s sense of security in the office.
You also have to prove that it isn’t just you who is offended by the behavior. To show that you have been harassed, you must prove the constraint of reasonability. In legal terms, “reasonability” means that any “reasonable” person in the same conditions would also be offended.
Behaviors that can be sexually harassing include, but are not limited to: sexually-charged or explicit material, unwelcome sexual advances, sexual innuendos, inappropriate touching, or gender-biased jokes.
There are times when sexual harassment does not have to be a repetitious pattern of behavior; it can be rather just a single act. If your boss offers you a promotion that is based on your performing a sexual act or favor, that is an example of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Likewise, if someone who holds authority over your position makes it implicitly or explicitly clear that if you don’t comply with their sexual request your job is in jeopardy, that is also an example of quid pro quo harassment.What to do to make the harassment stop
To stop the harassment, you do have to make both the harasser and your employer know that the misconduct is offensive and that you would like it to stop. Your company should have guidelines in place to handle claims for sexual harassment. It is also a good idea to hire an Ohio sexual harassment attorney to ensure that you are following the correct steps in case you are unable to get a response.
Should you need to file a claim for sexual harassment at the federal level, that can be done through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If your employer does not address the misconduct, you will want to use all of your available resources. Your Ohio sexual harassment lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim.
What if the harassment doesn’t stop?
If you have made both the harasser and your employer aware of the misconduct and they fail to take action, then you might be able to hold them liable. You must be able to prove that not only did you make the harassment known to the company, but also that they did nothing, and that you suffered damages as a result.
If you can prove that you suffered either financially or emotionally due to the harassment, then you are entitled to recover compensatory and punitive damages for your sexual harassment case.
If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you do not have to put up with it. Contact USAttorneys.com today; they can refer you to an experienced Ohio sexual harassment attorney to discuss how you can get the harassment to stop and get back to work in a productive atmosphere.