Having to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace can be stressful and difficult. Working at a place where you are constantly sexually harassed or subjected to a hostile work environment can be excruciating. At Heninger Garrison Davis, we have helped many Alabama employees recover compensation and restitution in sexual harassment cases.
We believe that everyone has a right to work in a safe workplace free from sexual harassment and discrimination. That is why our law firm advocates so strongly on behalf of employees to enforce anti-harassment laws. It is illegal for employers in Alabama to create a hostile working environment, which is a type of unlawful sexual harassment.
Experiencing Sexual Harassment in a Hostile Work Environment
An employee may have a right to bring a lawsuit when the sexual harassment at their workplace creates a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment can occur whenever a co-worker, supervisor, or a third party makes unwanted sexual requests, advances, or comments. The employee needs to prove that the unwanted sexual advances were repeated and unwanted. Some of the most common types of sexual harassment in a hostile work environment include the following:
- Sexual humor or jokes
- Repeated sexual advances to an employee that are unwanted
- Stopping another employee from moving around the workplace freely
- Repeated touching of a sexual nature
We will discuss the signs that a working environment constitutes a hostile work environment below.
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Non-Verbal or Verbal Anger and Aggression
Anger is a healthy and normal human emotion, but in a professional setting, everyone has a duty to handle their emotional reactions professionally. If you have experienced your coworker, boss, or others in the workplace displaying disturbing aggression and anger toward others, whether nonverbal or verbal, it may be a sign you are in a hostile work environment.
Public Shaming of a Sexual Nature
Public shaming is also a sign that you are in a hostile work environment. In some work environments, managers, co-workers, or employers will publicly shame people for sexual-related issues, such as dating relationships, divorce, or assumptions about their sexual life.
Failure to Maintain a Safe Working Environment
Employers and managers have a legal responsibility to create and maintain a reasonably safe work environment for their employees. The work environment needs to be safe from dangers that could cause physical accidents.
Similarly, it needs to be safe for employees through psychological and emotional safety. Overall, employers need to take action to reasonably protect employees’ life, health, and safety. When employees begin to dread coming to work because they are afraid they will be sexually touched or have to endure jokes of a sexual nature, that is a sure sign of a hostile work environment.
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Failure to Stop Sexual Jokes or Advances
Every company has its own culture, and that culture can be harmful or helpful for employees. In some industries, it is more likely for employers and employees to joke around together and talk about explicit sexual topics. Employers and managers should stop these types of discussions. They can put other employees in uncomfortable situations and constitute sexual harassment.
Additionally, a work culture could include people becoming overly physical with each other. For example, supervisors may try to hug employees, making them uncomfortable. When employers or managers become aware of this type of culture developing, they need to stop it and not encourage it.
Discuss Your Case With an Alabama Employment Lawyer
If you suspect that your employer has created a hostile work environment and you have been subjected to sexual harassment, it is wise to discuss your case with the lawyer. Even if you are not sure the hostility rises to the level of a hostile work environment, an attorney can help you understand your rights. You only have a limited amount of time to bring a sexual harassment lawsuit against your employer, so the sooner you discuss your case with the lawyer, the better. Contact the skilled employment lawyers at Heninger Garrison Davis today to schedule your initial consultation to learn more about your legal rights.