There are many resources available at both the state and federal levels to make it stop. Most people who are sexually harassed are fearful that coming forward will make the harassment worse or will jeopardize their position. But if you don’t file a claim, the harassment will not stop, and it will continue to keep you from succeeding the way that you should.
The Virginia Human Rights Act strictly prohibits any employer from discriminating against anyone based on their sex, pregnancy, or any medical condition that is related to their pregnancy or childbirth. Sexual harassment also falls under the Virginia Human Rights Act and is illegal. Virginian residents are also covered at the federal level by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also makes sexual harassment illegal.
How do I know if I am being sexually harassed?
Many people who are the victim of sexual harassment downplay what is happening and either think that if they just ignore it, it will get better, or are fearful that if they say something it will get worse. Sexual harassment isn’t about you being too sensitive. If you can show that it isn’t just you who would be offended by the behavior, but that any “reasonable” person would also be offended by someone’s misconduct, then you can file a claim for sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment isn’t just one bad or offensive behavior. It is a series of behaviors that are meant to intimidate and threaten someone in the workplace to the extent that it interferes with an employee’s ability to perform or to advance their career. It is repetitious sexually charged behaviors that create a hostile work environment.
Behaviors that constitute sexual harassment can vary, but generally, they are any unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate touching, derogatory or sexually explicit comments or remarks, lewd noises or gestures, sexually explicit material and sexual innuendos. If they are pervasive enough to make your work environment uncomfortable, then it is sexual harassment.
Another way that someone can sexually harass you in the workplace is if they hold a position of power over your work status, and they proposition you for a sexual favor and make it clear that your compliance has a bearing on your employment. If someone offers you something (like a promotion) in exchange for you acquiescing to their sexual request, or they make you feel as if saying no to their request could lead to dismissal, then that is a case of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment.
What are your rights?
You have the right to be in a work environment that is both non-threatening and non- intimidating. The first step that you have to take to make it stop is to let both your employer and your harasser know about the inappropriate behavior and demand that it cease. You will want to file a formal complaint, both with your place of business and on the federal level by filing a complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A Virginia sexual harassment lawyer can guide you to ensure that you are following the proper procedures, so that if the harassment doesn’t stop, you have recourse through the civil court system.
If you can prove that your boss was made aware of the sexual harassment and did nothing to make it better, and that you suffered damages as a consequence, then you are entitled to sue them for both compensatory and punitive damages. You will need the help of a Virginia sexual harassment attorney to file a lawsuit and to help you prove your case in a court of law.
If you are being sexually harassed at work, consult USAttorneys.com today; they can connect you with an experienced Virginia sexual harassment attorney who can make sure that you are protecting yourself and your position, so that you can stop the harassment and get back to work in a productive and safe atmosphere.