When Does Behavior Cross the Line into Sexual Harassment?
A sexual harassment attorney can provide assistance if you believe that you may be a victim of unlawful harassing behavior. Sexual harassment is far too common in workplaces and it can have profound consequences for those who are affected by unwelcome sexual advances and inappropriate behavior. You have legal recourse if you are a harassment victim but need to get appropriate help in proving the behavior and pursuing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or in civil court.
Curley & Rothman, LLC understands the ins and outs of sexual harassment cases and we can provide invaluable advice in protecting your rights and obtaining damages if you are a harassment victim. Call today to talk with a Philadelphia sexual harassment attorney so you can get started on fighting against harassing and illegal behavior that is affecting your professional life.
When Does Behavior Constitute Sexual Harassment?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as a “ form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Behaviors of an alleged harasser must meet certain criteria in order to be considered unlawful harassment. If a co-worker or supervisor simply asks you on a date, for example, this may not be considered harassing behavior that is actionable. Sometimes harassment is clearly occurring, but in other situations it is a more difficult judgement call to determine whether harassment happened or not.
EEOC indicates that behaviors which could constitute sexual harassment include actions like:
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Verbal conduct of a sexual nature
- Physical conduct of a sexual nature
The conduct rises to the level of unlawful sexual harassment if it “explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment.” If the conduct unreasonably interferes with your ability to do your job, creates a hostile environment in the place where you work; or otherwise has a substantial impact on your ability to perform work duties, then the behavior has crossed the line into sexual harassment.
What Should You Do if You are a Sexual Harassment Victim?
If you believe that you are being victimized by unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace, you should begin to document all of the instances in which you are affected. Take note of things people say, emails sent to you, and actions taken by co-workers or peers that constitute harassment. Be sure to write down the date, time, and a specific description of the behavior you believe has crossed the line into harassing behavior. The more detailed of a record you are able to keep, the easier it will be for you to prove unlawful harassment occurred.
If your workplace has a process for reporting sexual harassment, you should follow that procedure. You should typically let human resources know about the harassment so the employer has an opportunity to take action. However, if there is no way for you to alert anyone at work about the harassing behavior, or if the person you would have to alert is one of the harassers, then you may not necessarily need to have a record of reporting harassment in order to take legal action.
If your employer does not correct the problem of the harassing behavior immediately, or if you suffer any financial losses of any type because of the harassment, you should consult with a Philadelphia sexual harassment attorney. Your lawyer can assist with making a claim with the EEOC, and with filing a civil case in court.
When you pursue a civil case and allege sexual harassment, you can receive monetary damages to compensate you for lost wages resulting from the harassment, as well for the emotional consequences and harm you have experienced. In some egregious cases, employers have had to pay punitive damages, but cases in which punitive damages are possible or are considered appropriate are few and far between.
Getting Help from A Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Attorney
Curley & Rothman, LLC understands the laws aimed at preventing unlawful sexual harassment and protecting the victims of such harassment. We can help you to determine what steps you should take to obtain proof of the harassment and to hold your employer accountable for the financial losses and emotional harm the harassment has caused you to experience.
To find out more about the ways in which our legal team can assist you with legal issues related to unlawful sexual harassment that occurs within your workplace and that affects your ability to do your job, give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us to speak with a Philadelphia sexual harassment attorney today.