South Dakota Sexual Harassment Law
Those who work in South Dakota have a legal right to feel comfortable and have their efforts in the workplace equitably acknowledged, regardless of their sex or other characteristics related to sex. If you are being discriminated against – or even sexually harassed, you do not have to suffer in silence. There are many legal resources available at both the state and federal levels.
According to the South Dakota Human Relations Act, discriminating against someone due to their gender is strictly prohibited. It is also illegal to retaliate against anyone who files a sexual harassment claim or suit. So if you are turning a blind eye to the treatment out of fear of retaliatory actions, you need not. There are also federal laws that prohibit discrimination against anyone in the workplace due to their gender or any characteristic related to their gender. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination and sexual harassment in any work environment.
How do you know if you are being sexually harassed?
It is easy to question yourself and think that maybe you are just being too sensitive. But if someone is threatening and intimidating you enough to hinder your work performance, then that is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment isn’t just about someone telling an offensive joke at work; it is actually a systemic and pervasive way that someone makes someone so uncomfortable that they create a hostile work atmosphere and interrupt your ability to work or advance in your career.
Many different behaviors can constitute sexual harassment. Some examples include telling offensive sexual jokes, making derogatory comments about sex, sexual innuendos, unwelcome sexual advances, touching without consent, and lewd gestures or sounds. If you are going to prove that you are being sexually harassed, then you must also show the legal constraint of “reasonableness.” Reasonableness means that if any “reasonable person” were in your situation, they would find the behavior just as offensive.
What to do if you think you are a victim
If you believe that you are the victim of sexual harassment, then the first and most critical step to take is to make both the employer and the person harassing you aware that their behavior is inappropriate and demand for it to stop. If you fear filing a claim through the HR department and how it might affect your work status, you will want to hire a South Dakota sexual harassment lawyer so that you follow the right procedures, and to ensure that you have the documentation if it becomes necessary to initiate a lawsuit.
You will also want to have your South Dakota sexual harassment attorney help you to file a complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to ensure that you have covered all your bases and to establish a paper trail.
Is my employer liable for sexual harassment?
If you have followed the proper procedures required by your employer and have told both your harasser and your boss that the behavior needs to stop and they have done nothing to address it, then yes, you might be able to hold them liable. You will have to prove not only that your employer was aware of the harassment and did nothing to ameliorate the situation, but also that you suffered damages as a result.
In a sexual harassment case, you are entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages would encompass things like emotional distress, days lost from work, or even a bonus that you were denied as a result of the sexual harassment.
The best way to ensure that you get the harassing behavior to cease and can return to work in a secure atmosphere is to make sure to document everything and follow the proper procedures in place through your employer. If they fail to act or to help in any way, then you might have to escalate your case to a sexual harassment lawsuit to be compensated for all that you have lost.
To ensure that you have all you need to prove your case in a court of law, consult USAttorneys.com; they can connect you with an experienced South Dakota sexual harassment attorney who can help you make sure you are doing all you can to stop the harassment.