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Oregon Sexual Harassment Law

Often, when someone is the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, they choose to ignore it and not address it for fear of retaliation. If you are being discriminated against or sexually harassed at work, you do not have to put up with it. There are laws in place in Oregon that explicitly prohibit sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. There are also federal laws that protect workers from being harassed at work.

According to the Oregon Fair Employment Practice Act, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone in a work environment due to their sex. The Act has provisions that also protect anyone from being discriminated against due to pregnancy, or any medical condition that is related to either pregnancy or childbirth. It also protects people from discrimination according to their sexual identity, sexual orientation, or marital status, and it governs all employees in the state regardless of company size. You are also protected against sexual discrimination and sexual harassment due to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Behaviors that constitute sexual harassment

There are a vast number of behaviors that can be considered sexual harassment. It is typically not just one act, but a series of repetitious and pervasive behaviors that seek to discriminate against and to threaten people in the workplace.

The misconduct has to be systematic and persistent enough to hinder someone from performing in their day-to-day activities. Also, in order to prove that you have been sexually harassed you would have to show the theory of reasonableness. This means that in legal terms, you must prove that it isn’t just you who is offended by someone’s behavior, but that any “reasonable” person in your position would also be offended by the harassing behavior.

Examples of sexual harassment include any unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriately touching someone without their consent, lewd motions or sounds, sexually explicit material, sexual innuendos, or derogatory sexual remarks. The behaviors have to be continual enough to cause a hostile work environment.

Another way that someone can be sexually harassed is through a single incident of an employer asking for something in return for something. Quid pro quo harassment is when someone who holds authority and power over your work status makes a sexual advance or asks for a sexual favor, and makes it clear that your compliance could have either negative or positive consequences on your employment. If someone asks you for a sexual favor in exchange for either a perk or to protect your current position within an organization, that is quid pro quo sexual harassment and it is illegal.


Making the harassment stop

Most companies have guidelines and procedures in place to follow when someone files a claim for sexual harassment. The first step is that you must let both the person who is sexually harassing you and your supervisor or employer know of the inappropriate behavior. If you are fearful of retaliation, it is a good idea to hire an Oregon sexual harassment lawyer to protect your position and to ensure that if the harassment does not stop, you have taken the proper steps to hold your employer accountable.

You should also file a claim at the federal level through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Your Oregon sexual harassment attorney will be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you are documenting everything, so that if a lawsuit is necessary, you have the means to prove your case.


Can you hold your employer liable?

You can hold your employer liable in a court of law. To do so, however, you will need to prove that you made both the harasser and your employer aware of the misconduct and that they did nothing to make it better. You will also have to show that since they failed to take action, you suffered damages.

In sexual harassment suits, you are entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages, if the behavior was egregious enough. The only way to know that you are taking the proper steps to prove your sexual harassment case and to get the harassment to stop is to consult USAttorneys.com today where you can find an experienced Oregon sexual harassment attorney who can advise you of your next steps, so you can get back to work in a safe and supportive work environment.