Tennessee Sexual Harassment Law
Those who are looking to climb the corporate ladder and are met with hurdles that they can’t seem to overcome may start to lose confidence in their abilities. There are times when it might be your own limitations that are stopping you from success, and others when there are things in your way that are outside of your control. But if you are being held back from advancing due to either sexual discrimination or sexual harassment in the state of Tennessee, that is illegal at both the state and federal levels, and you do have a way to knock those hurdles down.
According to the Tennessee Human Rights Act, it is against the law for anyone to discriminate against another person in the workplace. The Act includes and makes provisions for sexual harassment and covers both private and public employers with eight or more workers. As a worker in Tennessee, you are also protected against sexual harassment at the federal level due to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So you do have many resources available to make the harassment stop; you just have to exercise your rights.
How do you know if you are being sexually harassed?
It is nearly impossible to be in a work environment and not be offended once in a while by things that someone might say. One gender-biased joke that offends you does not constitute sexual harassment. But if someone is systemically and pervasively threatening or intimidating you in the workplace, then that is legally sexual harassment. Continuous degrading and offensive behaviors that hinder your work performance or create a hostile environment that is affecting your ability to advance is sexual harassment.
Although there are many types of sexually harassing behaviors that someone can engage in, the most common ones are sexual innuendos, unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate touching, derogatory remarks that are based on sex or gender, lewd acts or gestures, or sexually explicit images. If you can prove that it isn’t just you who is offended, but that the way someone is behaving in the office is enough to make any “reasonable” person in the same situation offended, then you might have a case to make it stop.
Sexual harassment can also come in the form of one single act. If someone with authority and power over your position at work has made a request for you to engage in sexual contact with them, and has clearly made you aware that failure to comply to their request will have a bearing on your position or status, then that is quid pro quo sexual harassment. Along the same lines, if someone is offering you something like a perk or an advancement if you do something sexually for them, that is also quid pro quo harassment.
How do you make the harassment stop so you can get back on track?
The first step to stopping the harassment is to make both the person harassing you and your employer aware of the inappropriate sexual behavior. Your company should have guidelines in place to deal with sexual harassment claims. You must follow those procedures to file a claim specifically in case the harassment is not addressed, so that your Tennessee sexual harassment lawyer will have the proper documentation they will need should you have to go to court.
Your lawyer should also guide you through the process of filing a complaint at the federal level through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You will want to cover all your bases to create a paper trail should you need it in the future.
Can I hold my company liable in a court of law for sexual harassment?
It is possible for you to hold your employer liable and responsible for sexual harassment in court if you can prove three things. You must first prove that you made both the harasser and your employer aware that the sexual harassment was happening. Then you must show that the employer did nothing to address the situation. Finally, you must prove that because they did nothing, you suffered damages. If you can prove those three things, then you might be able to collect both compensatory and punitive damages.
Since you have the right to work in a safe environment, if you are a victim of sexual harassment, it is imperative that you consult USAttorneys.com today; they can connect you with an experienced Tennessee sexual harassment lawyer to discuss how to make the harassment stop and get back to climbing that corporate ladder.