How do you know if you are being sexually harassed?
There are very few people who haven’t been offended by something in the workplace. Sexual harassment isn’t about someone saying something offensive once in a while; it is a pervasive and systematic way that someone threatens and intimidates others, to the extent that they create a work environment that is hostile and impedes you from either excelling or from feeling safe and secure. It is a series of repeated behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable and prevent you from doing your job.
Many behaviors can constitute sexual harassment, including (but not limited to) things like sexual innuendos, derogatory remarks or comments that are sexual, inappropriate touching, sexually explicit material, or lewd gestures or sounds. To prove that you are being sexually harassed you must be able to show that the behaviors are consistent and that it isn’t just you who is offended. The theory of reasonableness in sexual harassment states that you have to show that any “reasonable” person in the same situation would feel just as offended as you do.
Sexual harassment can also be one single act or event. In “quid pro quo” sexual harassment situations, someone makes a request for a sexual act or favor and either implicitly or explicitly makes it clear that your job is dependent upon your compliance. This can also happen when someone offers you an advancement at your position or some perk in exchange for you acquiescing to their sexual request; it’s also considered sexual harassment and is illegal in the workplace.
Making a case for sexual harassment
To get the sexual harassment to stop, it is required that you make both the employer and your harasser aware that the behavior is both offensive and inappropriate and demand that it cease. There should be policies outlined by your company regarding steps to take when making a claim for sexual harassment. It is imperative that you follow those procedures, because if your claim falls on deaf ears and no actions are taken to ameliorate the situation you may have to escalate the case to court.
If you are fearful of retaliation, you might want to hire a South Carolina sexual harassment attorney to both help protect you and to file the necessary reports, including filing a claim at the federal level through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A paper trail is going to be your best tool if you need to initiate a lawsuit.
Is my employer liable for sexual harassment?
If you have made your employer aware of the sexually harassing behavior and they have not done anything to make it better, then you might have recourse to hold them liable. You would need to prove not just that you told them about the misconduct, but that they didn’t take action to stop it, and that their failure to act is directly responsible for your damages. In sexual harassment cases, you are entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages if you can prove that you either suffered emotionally or financially due to the harassment.
The only way to ensure that you have the proper documentation to initiate a lawsuit to receive the compensation you are entitled to is to consult USAttorneys.com; they can connect you with an experienced South Carolina sexual harassment lawyer to aid you through the claim process, and – if necessary – to begin legal proceedings against your employer.