Are Your Working in a Hostile Environment? You Need a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Omaha
Has a coworker made an unwanted sexual advance towards you? Did they touch you without your permission? Do you a coworker who leers or has a new sexually-charged joke every day? Unfortunately, sexual harassment is common in workplaces across Nebraska.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
The Nebraska Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as: “Any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” To have a valid complaint or sexual harassment, you must prove that the behavior was:
Based on sex, and
Severe and pervasive.
We’ll explain each:
Unwelcome– This simply means the behavior was unwanted. To make that clear, you need to communicate how you feel about the behavior, don’t let a troubling incident go without speaking up. If you have a coworker who tells overtly sexual jokes often but you laugh at them, you could encourage the behavior. To ensure your harasser understands a behavior is unwanted, you need to
Conduct was based on sex– Lots of behaviors can be considered workplace harassment but sexual harassment is unwanted attention or comments that are sexual in nature. The following can be considered sexual harassment:
Telling sexual jokes of making innuendos
Asking for sexual favors or dates
Gossiping about a person’s sex life
Kissing, hugging or massaging
Groping or grabbing
Making inappropriate comments about your clothing or body
Sharing emails, pictures and texts of a sexual nature
Staring at your body in a lascivious manner
Threatening a person if they refuse a date or retaliation
Trying to block a coworker’s movement
Severe and pervasive-Sometime coworkers make an offhand comment or make a sexual joke and it’s the only time they ever do it. Under the pervasive standard, a one-time incident unless it was severe such as a sexual assault, would not be enough to file a sexual harassment lawsuit. For a behavior to be pervasive, it must be repeated, persisting or escalating over weeks or months.
To determine if a behavior is pervasive, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the inappropriate behavior common?
How many incidents have I endured?
Is the harassment continuing after I asked the harasser to stop?
Has a coworker of the same sex experienced the same treatment?
Why is my employer not acting?
Do You Know the Two Main Types of Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace falls into one of the following categories:
Hostile Work Environment
When a boss, a supervisor or coworker subjects you to inappropriate behavior such as sexual comments about your body or propositions you for sex or subjects you to other sexually charged acts. Such practices create an uncomfortable atmosphere, and causes tension between employees, leading to decreased productivity, high rate of absences and rapid turnover rate. This type of harassment is referred to as hostile work environment.
It must be repeated and pervasive and ignored by their employer to warrant an EEOC investigation and/ or a civil lawsuit. So, a person facing this sexual harassment must first inform their employer they are being harassed and give them an opportunity to remedy the behavior. When your company fails to act, the harassment victim is then urged to speak with a lawyer well-versed in employment law determine if they have a valid claim.
Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo is Latin for “this for that.” This type of sexual harassment happens when a person has a position of power and uses it to sexually harass a person in a lower position. A higher status employee can threaten to fire a subordinate who doesn’t tolerate harassment or refuses to engage in a physical relationship.
Employees endure quid pro quo harassment for a long time because they have no one to turn to complain about how they are being treated. The harasser is usually as a boss or executive and the use the power of their position to make sure their victim is compliant and do what they want.
Women Aren’t the Only Victims
The majority of sexual harassment victims are women, but they aren’t only workers subjected to inappropriate behavior in Nebraska workplaces. A study that appeared the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that 20 percent of men serving in the five branches of the military were subjected to some form of sexual harassment.
Men are often more reluctant to come forward and file formal sexual harassment complaints. If you are a man and a co-worker is making you uncomfortable, let USAttorneys connect you with a sexual harassment lawyer in Omaha to see if you should take civil action.
What Are Your Rights?
Under state and federal law, you have the following rights:
- To work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment
- To report any incidents without fear of retaliation
- To recover compensation for your economic damages if your employer failed to act on your harassment allegations
What is Retaliation?
Many people who endure daily sexual harassment just deal their horrible treatment because they are afraid to file a complaint. You’ve probably felt the same way too and fear your employer will punish yours for making a report. That’s a legitimate concern because it happens in a significant number of instances.
Who Do I Talk to About Workplace Harassment?
If you are sexually harassed in your Omaha workplace, you need to file a complaint with your employer’s human resources department. Your employer must be given the time to investigate and decide if your allegations are true. If they find evidence of sexual harassment, they are required by the Nebraska Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) to stop the harassment. Your employer must do something to end workplace abuses in the workplace or you can file a civil suit against them.
It is hard to prove allegations of sexual harassment because most cases are one person’s word against another’s. You’ll have a better chance of recovering compensation if you retain one of the employment lawyers at USAttorneys.com.
Douglas County Court Civil Division
1819 Farnam St.,
Omaha, NE 68183
US District Court
111 S 18th Plz # 1152,
Omaha, NE 68102
USAttorneys.com local office
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Omaha, NE 68102
Phone: (402) 513-1532