If you believe you are the victim of sexual harassment, then you really should consult with an employment attorney about your options. Talking with an experiences employment attorney will help you determine whether or not you have a legitimate sexual harassment case or not. Organization, honesty, and some general knowledge of sexual harassment law in the beginning will make it much easier for your attorney to accurately advise you.
What Counts as Sexual Harassment?Sexual harassment is defined as any action or behavior that a reasonable person would consider offensive, including sexual advances, inappropriate jokes, unwanted physical contact, or gender-based actions that form a hostile work environment.
In order to file a sexual harassment lawsuit, the company you work for must be covered by federal law, meaning there has to be 15 or more employees with the business. Some states have their own laws which may cover employers with fewer than 15 employees, but Texas is not one of them.
In order to qualify as sexual harassment, the action must also be severe or pervasive. This means that the action in question is not usually a one-off. If the harassment is consistent, ongoing, or widespread, then it will usually qualify. One-time incidents can also qualify if they are severe enough. For example, if a coworker sexually assaults another employee.
What Will an Employment Lawyer Look for in a Sexual Harassment Case?When an employment attorney looks over your complaint, they will be evaluating its validity and strength based on a variety of factors, including:
- Whether the conduct was actually unwelcome. If you participated in the jokes, or did not reject sexual advances, it may be harder to prove the behavior was unwelcome.
- Did you report the harassment? In cases when a supervisor is the harasser, it may not be necessary for you to report them to human resources, but if the aggressor is a coworker, you should have evidence to prove you reported their behavior.
- Speaking of evidence, an employment attorney will look for any evidence you have of the harassment. Emails, texts, notes, witnesses, etc. will all be crucial. Unfortunately, without evidence, sexual harassment cases quickly become “he said, she said.”
- What did the sexual harassment cause you to lose? If you were fired, or lost wages due to the harassment, share that with your employer. In many cases involving supervisors, sexual harassment takes the form of a “quid pro quo” arrangement, meaning an employer may bribe/coerce an employee into providing sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or keeping their job.
Call or fill out an online form today for a free consultation, and find out how Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson can help you.