Each state has its own anti-harassment laws, but some states don’t have any at all. One example is Alabama. Why is this? There’s no easy answer, and this can be troubling for those who have experienced sexual harassment while working in the Cotton State. There is not even a commission or an organization of any kind within Alabama that handles sexual harassment cases.
With all that said, there are still legal options available for those who have suffered from sexual harassment in Alabama. It’s simply a matter of going through federal laws rather than state laws, and this requires a different approach. If you’re wondering why Alabama doesn’t have sexual harassment laws, you may need to ask your governmental representatives at the state level. The more important and pressing question is simple: If there are no sexual harassment laws in Alabama, then what’s your next move?
Federal Anti-Harassment Statutes
Although Alabama has no sexual harassment laws, you are still protected under Federal law. There are a number of anti-sexual harassment statutes that are enforceable throughout the nation, regardless of which state you’re in. Under state law, it is unlawful to:
- Make unwelcome sexual advances
- Request sexual favors
- Verbally or physically harass employees in a sexual manner
- Making offensive comments about someone’s gender
The Civil Rights Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects all individuals in the United States from discrimination based on sex. This means that employers cannot make decisions involving hiring, promotions, firing, and raises based on someone’s sex. Courts have established that sexual discrimination falls under the general “umbrella” of sexual discrimination.
Who Enforces Federal Sexual Harassment Laws in Alabama?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing the above federal laws in Alabama. The EEOC has an office in Birmingham that is responsible for these matters across the state. Keep in mind that this organization only has the power to enforce the nation’s anti-sexual harassment laws if the organization employs 15 or more individuals.
What Happens Next?
If you have experienced sexual harassment in Alabama, your next step should be to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will then begin an investigation into your complaint and figure out what to do next. In many cases, the EEOC may be able to figure out a settlement or some kind of resolution that both parties are satisfied with. If this fails, the EEOC may file a lawsuit on your behalf. The organization may also issue you a “right-to-sue” letter, which allows you to take matters into your own hands and file a lawsuit against your private employer.
Whatever the case may be, it’s always important to gather evidence if you have been sexually harassed in your workplace. Find witnesses who are willing to testify on your behalf, and try to gather documentation that proves sexual harassment was taking place. Text messages, photographs, emails, or voice mail messages may all help your case.
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