Sexual harassment is a problem for hundreds of thousands of people each year in the US, affecting an untold amount of lives and livelihoods. This is why over the years, laws have been made to prevent it and to give its victims a pathway to justice.
The first big milestone was Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and when limitations of that act were revealed, other states began adopting their own laws to prohibit sexual harassment both at the federal and state level. If you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment in Wisconsin, first, make sure you are safe before contacting an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights and bring you justice.
Wisconsin’s laws regarding sexual harassment
The Civil Rights Act of 1964’s statutes for sexual harassment only apply to companies with 15 employees or less, and many states’ laws don’t do much to supplement this limitation.
In Wisconsin however, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act applies to all companies regardless of size, both in the public and private sector. The act prohibits any discrimination in employment because of sex or sexual orientation, including harassment based on an individual’s sex or sexual orientation. Generally speaking, sexual harassment cases in Wisconsin can fall under this act, and hold the accused accountable to the law.
Victims of sexual harassment can receive various types of compensation, including:
- Punitive damages
- Compensatory damages
- Getting rehired or reinstated
- Back Pay
Defining sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can often be vague or anecdotal, but is generally broken into 2 different types:
- Hostile work environment sexual harassment, which can include unwanted sexual advances, rude comments, stalking, or sexual assault/rape.
- “Quid-pro-quo” sexual harassment whereby an employer or high ranking employee attempts to offer the victim a tangible job benefit in exchange for sexual favors.
These are the two most common forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, although the dynamics of the workplace can bring about other types of cases as well.
Some things that wouldn’t be taken seriously by the courts would be:
- Asking someone on a date
- Consensual relationships or dates
- Non-sexual compliments
How suing for sexual harassment works
In order for a case to be heard, victims of sexual harassment must file a claim with the
Wisconsin Equal Rights Division (WERD) and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Once a claim has been filed you may be granted a ‘right to sue’ before proceeding.
Each administration has its own time limits for when one can file a claim, so it’s important to have an experienced attorney walk you through the often confusing process.
Are you dealing with a sexual harassment case in Wisconsin?
If you’re dealing with a sexual harassment lawsuit in Wisconsin, know that experienced attorneys are waiting to bring you justice all across the state, from Milwaukee to Apple Creek.