Workplace Sexual Harassment Cases
Sexual harassment is one of the most frequent causes for a person to feel uncomfortable at work. At its most basic, sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment that can cause serious emotional distress. At its worst, sexual harassment may even involve assault.
Nobody should be forced to endure sexual harassment in the workplace. Thankfully, the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia are dedicated to investigating and resolving issues of workplace sexual harassment. Virginia workplace sexual harassment lawyers can help employees understand their options for pursuing justice. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Any statement, implication, or action involving sexual connotations are inappropriate for the workplace. It doesn’t matter whether these actions are committed by a fellow employee or their superior. All members of the team must refrain from these actions altogether.
Common examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:
- Sexually charged comments
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Offering sex as an opportunity for advancement
- Inappropriate or unwelcome touching
- Sexual assault
Taking Action Against Sexual Harassment at Work
Reporting Sexual Harassment to Human Resources
The law requires most workplaces to have a human resources department to investigate allegations of harassment. Many times, simply reporting the issue will resolve the problem. Other times, though, internal investigations do little to stop inappropriate behaviors from continuing. When a culture of harassment is so ingrained in the company, human resources is often powerless to prevent such actions.
When Human Resources Fails to Act
If reporting the issue to HR has not helped the situation, an employee has other legal options. They can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and launch an investigation.
- Filing an EEOC Complaint. The Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits any kind of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex. This law – along with federal prohibitions of sexual harassment – is enforceable by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency investigates all claims filed by Virginia employees that allege sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Strict Legal Deadlines. Unfortunately, there are tight timelines to consider when filing a complaint. Employees have just 180 days after the incident to file. If this time limit slips by, the EEOC will decline to investigate. Consider contacting an experienced attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to legal action.
- Investigating Claims of Sexual Harassment. The EEOC will interview witnesses, examine security footage, and delve into any paperwork pertaining to the sexual harassment. An investigation the EEOC decides to prosecute frequently results in a guilty finding. In such cases, the EEOC may order the payment of lost wages, the reinstatement of a job, or civil violations.
- Right to Sue. When the EEOC doesn’t take action, though, they may opt to issue a right to sue letter to the employee. This letter allows harassment victims to file a complaint with the district court for compensation. Without this letter, a person cannot go directly to the court. Many victims decide to hire a Virginia sexual harassment lawyer to help them navigate the legal process and protect their rights.
Free Confidential Consultations
No one should be forced to endure sexual harassment, especially in the workplace. Virginia and federal laws prohibit this kind of behavior. Whether it takes the form of inappropriate comments, unwanted touching, or sexual advances, sexual harassment is never acceptable. Contact us for a free confidential consultation 877-544-5323.