Despite all the progress that we made over the last few decades, sexual harassment is still a massive workplace problem. Every day, Alabama employees face sexual harassment and sexual assault. At Heninger Garrison Davis, we have helped many clients file successful claims against their employers for sexual assault and harassment. We have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions regarding workplace sexual harassment below.
What is the Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault?
Sexual harassment and sexual harassment are both illegal under state and federal laws. the main difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault is the degree of contact made by the assailant. Typically, sexual harassment happens when someone request sexual favors, makes sexual advances, makes sexual comments, or uses sexually degrading language or gesturers.
Sexual assault could also include inappropriate physical contact that does not rise to the level of sexual assault, such as knee grabbing, shoulder rubs, slapping, and pinching. Sexual assault might involve sexual attacks or rape. Sexual assault is a crime in Alabama, and sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by federal and state employment laws.
What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
The federal EEOC is responsible for sexual assault and harassment complaints. They categorize sexual harassment into two types — mainly quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves conduct when the harasser tells the employee that inappropriate sexual conduct is a condition of employment. For example, the manager may tell the employee that he will fire her if she refuses to have sex with him.
How Do I Prove a Hostile Work Environment?
When sexual harassment is pervasive or severe, an employee may be able to make a claim that the employer has enabled a hostile work environment. The employee will need to prove that the employer knew or should have known of the hostile work environment and failed to stop it. Inappropriate jokes, displaying sexual pictures, repeated requests for dates, and unwelcome physical contact can also create a hostile work environment.
What are the Most Common Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sadly, sexual harassment is far more prevalent than most people know. In one Wall Street Journal poll, 48% of the 900 respondents claimed that they had been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. 41% of men claimed that they had witnessed some type of sexual harassment while on the job. The EEOC has reported that they have received an average of over 12,000 sexual harassment complaints every year since 2010.
Should I Report Sexual Harassment?
Yes, you should report sexual harassment. In some circumstances, we understand that it is challenging to notify your employer of the inappropriate behavior. Perhaps your employer is hostile to people who file complaints, or you may work in a very small office environment and you fear the retribution that could happen if you report the incident. In some cases, employers put off your ability to file a report because they do not want any possible litigation, or they ignore your report and do nothing about it. A skilled employment lawyer can help you ensure that your employer does not violate your rights as you go through the process of attempting to stop the sexual harassment and filing a claim.
What Should I Do if I Was Sexually Assaulted or Harassed at Work?
The best thing to do if you have experienced sexual harassment at your workplace is to hire an experienced employment lawyer. You may have several different legal options at your disposal. In some cases, you can bring a complaint with the federal EEOC. In other cases, your best legal option could be to file a federal lawsuit against your employer. All of these options have time limits placed upon them, however. Whether you file an EEOC complaint or you file a civil lawsuit against your employer, you will need to do it before the statute of limitations runs out and you lose your ability to bring forth a claim.
Contact an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
If you have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. You may have the right to file a discrimination claim against your employer with Alabama’s anti-discrimination agency or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We will review your case and advise you as to your best legal options going forward. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible.