Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees a discrimination-free workplace and includes a prohibition on sexual harassment, which is a type of gender discrimination. Employees who have been harassed can bring a claim at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administrative level or to the state to recover monetary damages.
Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP is a national trial law firm with almost 25 years of experience in employment discrimination claims. Our lawyers are licensed in the state and federal courts of California, Texas, North Carolina and Puerto Rico and often handle class action and multi-district litigation involving national corporations.
We handle many sexual harassment claims on a contingency fee basis, but can also arrange for an hourly fee or hybrid system on an as needed basis.
What is Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment?
Sexual harassment broadly describes a situation in which a person is harassed because of his or her gender. Sexual harassment may include an unwanted sexual advance, dirty jokes, offensive images or sexually explicit text messages and emails. This offensive conduct does not have to be directed toward the person, but may create a hostile work environment.
Often a single off-hand comment or situation does not necessarily rise to the level of sexual harassment, but a one-time serious incident, such as a sexual assault, would give rise to a valid sexual harassment claim.
Conversely, multiple less serious incidents may cumulatively create a hostile work environment that meets the criteria for a valid sexual harassment claim. The work environment is hostile if it affects the employee’s performance or results in an adverse job decision, such as being fired, not being sent on certain assignments or losing a promotion.
Also, the behavior must be unwanted. An affair between coworkers, therefore, might not be sexual harassment unless one participant used coercion, for example being in a superior position with the power to fire the employee.
Who Are the Victims and Harassers?
Although sexual harassment occurs more frequently to women, this is not always the case. The harasser and the victim may be male or female and may be the same or opposite genders. The anti-discrimination laws also protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The harasser may be a coworker, a direct supervisor, a supervisor in another division, a client, a customer or a vendor. An employer that knows of the harassment but does not protect the employee is liable.
Hold Your Employer Accountable for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
To learn more about pursuing remedies for a sexual harassment claim, schedule a case consultation with Schneider Wallace in our California, Texas, North Carolina or Puerto Rico offices. Our lawyers represent plaintiffs and classes of plaintiffs in complex litigation and can also advise employers on maintaining a harassment-free workplace.