In Rhode Island and elsewhere, workplace harassment is a real concern as numerous people fall victim to it. While there are various forms of harassment that could land an offender in hot water, sexual harassment is a particularly significant issue. This is something that affects both men and women, and it is a problem that far too many employers may just brush off as no big deal. It is a big deal, however.
How is sexual harassment defined? What are the different types of sexual harassment? If you have been a victim of sexual harassment what can you do?
Types of sexual harassment
According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, sexual harassment is any unwelcome or unwanted sexual conduct or advances that interferes with one's job performance or creates a difficult work environment. This is a form of workplace discrimination that employers should not tolerate in any of its forms.
There are many forms of sexual harassment. A few of them include:
- Inappropriate touching
- Making sexual remarks
- Telling sexual jokes
- Sharing offensive material
- Withholding promotions or pay raises for not tolerating inappropriate behavior
If does not matter if sexual harassment is a one-time thing or if it occurs frequently. It is something that you should report as soon as possible.
If I am a victim of sexual harassment what can I do?
First, file a report with your employer. If that fails to produce desirable results, you then may take legal action. Depending on the details of your situation, you may file one of two types of sexual harassment claims: quid pro quo or hostile work environment.
To file a quid pro quo claim, the harassment will need to have come from a supervisor or someone in authority. It only takes one incident to file this type of claim. To pursue a hostile environment claim, you will need to provide information about the type of harassment endured, the frequency in which it occurred, the names of those involved and the names of witnesses, among other details.
Take legal action
Your employer may be liable for damages if he or she fails to investigate and take action after receiving a sexual harassment complaint. You may also have grounds to sue your employer if he or she retaliates against you for filing a sexual harassment claim.
Nothing about sexual harassment in the workplace is ever okay. If you are a victim of this type of discrimination, you may file civil claims in an effort to seek possible compensation for any economic and non-economic damages you have suffered as a result. An experienced employment law attorney can review your case and help you pursue the legal action appropriate for your situation.