News agencies have increasingly covered sexual harassment in the workplace in the last few years. If you are an Alabama employee who has been subject to sexual harassment, you may be wondering what you need to do to prove it took place. Unfortunately, sexual harassment happens all over the state of Alabama. If you have experienced harassment at work, you are not alone.
While sexual harassment in the workplace can take many different forms, there are two types of that are illegal in the United States. Understanding these two types of unlawful sexual harassment at work can help you understand your options going forward if you think you might be a victim.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment takes place when an employer or manager threatens to fire or demote an employee if he or she does not engage in specific sexual activities. Quid quo pro sexual harassment can also happen when an employer offers an employee any work-related opportunity in exchange for sexual favors or threatens any adverse employment actions unless ssexual acts are performed.
Examples of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment often happens during the hiring process. The employer interviewing the employee could ask personal questions that are not related to the job. The manager may then sit on the edge of his chair, put his hands on the potential employee’s shoulders and say, “if I decide to give you this job, we’ll be spending time after work hours together” in a sexually suggestive tone.
Or, an employer may begin taking a sexual interest in the employee and suggest that they go on a date. When the employee flatly rejects the idea of any romantic relationship, the supervisor may threaten to fire the employee if he or she does not engage in sexual favors.
Many times, employers and managers assume that they will not be found out. They tell employees that they will fire them for a legitimate cause, like showing up late a few times, or not doing a good enough job. When the employee can show that the real reason for the termination of employee was due to sexual harassment, he or she may have a valid compensation claim.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment on the job is illegal, and it negatively impacts an employee’s ability to work effectively. Being subjected to a hostile work environment can make an employee’s life incredibly challenging inside and outside of the workplace. Creating a hostile work environment is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers cannot create a hostile work environment, and engaging in sexual harassment is one way to create a hostile work environment easily.
Examples of Sexual Harassment Through a Hostile Work Environment
Examples of creating a hostile work environment through sexual harassment include the following:
- Sharing sexually explicit and inappropriate videos or images
- Sending sexually suggestive emails, notes, and letters
- Making sexual gestures
- Inappropriate touching
- Staring at someone in a sexually suggestive or offensive way
- Whistling at an employee
- Making sexual comments about an employee’s clothing, body parts, or appearance
- Asking someone else sexual questions, such as questions about their sexual orientation or history
- Making offensive comments about someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation
- Sharing sexually explicit stories or anecdotes
- Displaying sexually explicit posters or pictures in the workplace
- Inappropriate rubbing, patting, pinching, or brushing up against someone
Any words or actions with a sexual connotation that interferes with another employee’s ability to create an uncomfortable atmosphere or ability to work can be considered sexual harassment. Also, you do not need to be the person at whom the comments or actions are directed to take action against sexual harassment. For example, if you overhear a manager always making sexually explicit comments about a coworker, you may still have a valid claim against your employer.
Bringing a Sexual Harassment Claim Against Your Alabama Employer
When Alabama employees can show that they were subjected to a hostile work harassment, or that their employers have engaged in quid pro quo sexual harassment, they may be entitled to compensation. Specifically, successful plaintiffs can sue for damages for emotional distress, attorney fees, and lost wages. When employers act egregiously, a judge can order them to pay additional punitive damages.
Contact an Experienced Alabama Sexual Harassment Lawyer
At Heninger Garrison Davis, we understand how difficult it is to undergo sexual harassment in the workplace. We advocate fiercely on behalf of clients who have experienced sexual harassment so they can recover restitution and compensation. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.