No employee should ever have to deal with sexual harassment in their workplace. If you’ve been burdened by sexual harassment from a colleague, supervisor or other employee in your place of employment, you might be able to bring a claim against the person who is sexually harassing you and potentially your employer if they’ve failed to take necessary steps to prevent it from continuing.
The vast majority of companies have sexual harassment policies in place. These policies may outline the steps you should take when you’re being sexually harassed at work such as reporting the incidents to your human resources department or your immediate supervisor.
It’s important that you retain an experienced attorney in these types of cases. This is because if you are bringing a claim against your employer for failing to address the situation you should expect your employer to push back against these claims and even place fault on you for not taking the steps outlined in your contract to report sexual harassment behaviors.
Read on to learn more about what types of behaviors are considered sexual harassment and the compensation you may be able to receive in your claim.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
There are any number of ways in which employees can become victims of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is often defined as any unwelcome physical, written, or verbal actions of a sexual nature and can be considered a sexual discrimination when the harassment creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment that impacts your ability to complete your work.
The other common form of workplace sexual harassment is known as “Quid Pro Quo”. Here, the harasser in question has requested sexual favors in exchange for hiring, promotions, or to retain your position at work.
Sexual harassment can come in many forms including sexual touching, comments, gestures, jokes, pressure or innuendos. The key in establishing that sexual harassment occurred is that the actions of the harasser were unwelcome and offensive.
Recovering Compensation For Your Damages
When you’ve made the decision to move forward with your claim, your attorney will discuss with you, in detail, the different ways your life has been impacted by the sexual harassment you endured. It will be critical that no damage goes unaccounted for so that you can get the most out of your claim. Some of the most frequently sought damages in a sexual harassment claim include compensatory damages, the damage to your earning potential, back pay, and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages might include damage to your reputation, pain and suffering, mental health counseling, medical expenses, emotional distress, and the costs of searching for new employment, where applicable.
When referencing the loss of potential future earnings, your attorney will consider how long it will take you to find another job, how old you are, and what the turnover rate is with your former employer to determine how much you’ve lost out on. Possibly the area that is the greatest cause for concern is the back pay you’re entitled to. This could include lost wages, the loss of bonuses, benefits, contributions to your 401K, and paid time off.
In the event that the judge finds that the actions of the harasser were particularly abhorrent or malicious in nature, whether that be due to the actions themselves or for failure to do something about harassment after it’s been reported, you could be awarded punitive damages. This award, though helpful to your case, is designed to make an example of the liable party so that similar incidents don’t happen in the future.
Get Help from a Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re considering bringing a civil lawsuit against your harasser or employer for sexual harassment in your workplace, working with a lawyer for a sexual harassment claim can be the best way to ensure that you secure the funds you need to put this difficult time in your life behind you.