Sexual Harassment is a serious crime that can drastically alter people’s lives and careers. Claims of sexual harassment can change the reputations of individuals, companies, or large institutions. This is why if you ever find yourself dealing with a sexual harassment lawsuit, your first step is to get in touch with an experienced attorney who can protect your rights and guide you through the justice system, no matter what side of the case you’re on.
Most sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, and legislation exists at both state and federal levels to prevent it from happening, and to protect victims when it does.
Tennessee’s laws on sexual harassment
At the federal level, sexual harassment is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and applies only to companies with at least 15 employees.
At the state level, the state of Tennessee prohibits sexual harassment under the Tennessee Human Rights Act, which bans any discrimination based on sex. Sexual harassment falls under this act. However, this act only applies to companies with 8 or more employees.
Defining sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can come in many different forms, often making it difficult to define or describe, especially in the dynamic environment of the workplace. Some common scenarios would be:
- Unwanted sexual advances, which can be anything from touching or patting, to aggressive and/or explicitly sexual assault and rape
- Rude, lewd, sexualized comments, for example, calling a woman a “slut” or “whore,” whether written or verbal.
- Displaying sexualized photos in the workplace
- Stalking; following someone home or to their car after work, spamming someone’s phone or email.
Another common scenario brought forth in sexual harassment cases is “quid-pro-quo” sexual harassment whereby an employer attempts to exchange a promotion or some type of job benefit for sexual favors.
If a plaintiff can provide ample evidence that their employer or a fellow employee tried to get them to accept a quid-pro-quo type of sexual favor, and/or punished for turning the offer down, they may have a solid foundation for a sexual harassment case.
How sexual harassment lawsuits work in Tennessee
Victims of sexual assault have multiple avenues for legal recourse in a sexual harassment case, and can be entitled to various forms of compensation, including:
- Punitive damages
- Compensatory damages
- Back Pay
- Front Pay
- Being reinstated, rehired, or promoted
In order to file a lawsuit under state-level jurisdiction, victims have to file a claim within 300 days. At the federal level, they have 180 days to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Your attorney can walk you through this process.
If you or someone you know needs help navigating a sexual harassment lawsuit in Tennessee, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney here in Tennessee, from Nashville to Neely.