Houston, TX – Workers can be harassed or mistreated in a number of different ways. In order for certain forms of workplace mistreatment to rise to the level of sexual harassment, certain conditions must be met. This is because sexual harassment has a formal legal definition with certain elements, just like other civil and criminal cases. Victims of harassment can consult with an attorney in order to determine if their workplace issues are legitimate forms of harassment with legal consequences.

Defining sexual harassment

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is mistreatment that occurs because of the victim’s sex. It can include sexual advances, asking for sexual favors, and other forms of physical and verbal abuse. Either the victim or the person responsible can be of any gender. This means it is possible for harassment to occur between members of the same gender or across different genders. The person responsible for the harassment is usually a superior such as a manager or supervisor, however any other coworkers can be responsible for harassment that meets all of these conditions. Victims can also be someone who is either directly or indirectly affected by the illegal conduct. 

The EEOC also mentions that certain less serious forms of verbal insults such as teasing and joking are not prohibited by law, and will likely not count as harassment in a court of law. In most cases, harassment must either be frequent or have serious consequences such as a job loss to be actionable in a court of law. However, there does not necessarily need to be any economic harm caused by harassment for the conduct to be legally actionable. It is recommended that victims report the conduct to their company’s human resources department or related personnel to attempt to solve the issues internally first. 

Rules for bringing legal actions

There are certain other conditions that must be met for a successful sexual harassment claim. The legal action should be brought within 180 days of the alleged misconduct, unless local laws allow for more time. Certain employees of the federal government must contact an equal employment counselor within 45 days of an incident. An employer must also have 15 or more employees for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to apply and give workers protection against sexual harassment. Workers who work for very small companies may be able to contact an attorney to seek out other remedies if this law does not apply. 

Assistance from a local labor attorney

Moore and Associates handles employment law situations in the state of Texas. Anyone who is interested in receiving help can contact the firm and explain their situation to receive individualized advice. 

Firm contact info:

Moore & Associates

440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002

713-222-6775

www.mooreandassociates.net

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