First of all, sexual harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as: “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature…when…submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions…or such conduct has the purpose or effect of…creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.”
Sexual harassment consists of two types of prohibited conduct:
1) quid pro quo—where submission to harassment is used as the basis for employment decisions; and
2) hostile environment—where harassment creates an offensive working environment.
What is hostile work environment harassment?
- The American Bar Association (ABA) defines hostile work environment harassment as: “when an employee is subjected to comments of a sexual nature, offensive sexual materials, or unwelcome physical contact as a regular part of the work environment. Generally speaking, a single isolated incident will not be considered hostile work environment harassment unless it is extremely outrageous and egregious conduct. The courts look to see whether the conduct is both serious and frequent.”
Supervisors, managers, co-workers and even customers can be responsible for creating a hostile environment.
When will my employer be held liable for hostile work environment harassment?
- The employer is liable when supervisors, managers or other employees create the hostile work environment. This is true unless the employer can prove they were informed of the conduct and took reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior. The employer must also prove the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of the preventative or corrective action provided by the employer.
- Examples of reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior: moving employees to different departments so they no longer come in contact with one another, switching employees to different shifts so they no longer work together, terminating the harasser, etc.
What should I do if I am being sexually harassed at work?
- Notify your supervisor, manager or a Human Resources representative immediately. It is very important that you report and document the behavior because an employer cannot be expected to fix a problem it is not aware of.
- If your supervisor or manager is the harasser, tell a Human Resources representative, a manager or supervisor from a different department or the harasser’s superior.
- Victims should try to keep a detailed record of the harassment and keep this record in a place where it will not be destroyed. Keeping this information on a computer at home or somewhere else away from the workplace is a good idea.
- Victims of sexual harassment should always contact an attorney if exhausting the options above do not resolve the situation.
Most attorneys who handle sexual harassment cases for employees also offer a free consultation to evaluate the merits of a case.
Rachel and Dominick were incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. They got back to me quickly, whenever I had questions, which helped me stay calm during a very stressful time. Rachel was confident in her abilities and knowledge of the labor laws, and she was able to secure a settlement for me. If you ever find yourself in a situation that requires you take action against an employer, I would highly recommend the Friedman Firm. There's no one I would recommend more to be in your corner.
If you are in need of an employment attorney, this is your sign to talk to Rachel and Jamie. Amazing!! They handled my case like the true professionals they are! They stuck to a strategy, even when it seemed like it wasn’t going our way and BAM! We get the outcome we wanted. I couldn’t be happier and I will always return to them if I EVER have an employment issue again. Thank you so much for helping me and my family!
Dedicated! Thorough! Detailed! Professional! Personable! I can keep going with the many qualities Pete and his team have. I highly recommend him!!! You won't be disappointed.
I needed an employment lawyer to work through a non compete. Pete at The Friedmann Firm was listed as one of the three best rated employment lawyers on a local website. I called him in the morning and later that night he was on the case and provided sound council through a very tense negotiation. Don’t take a chance with your career, reach out and get good council. Pete was very responsive every step of the way and delivered positive results. I highly recommend Pete and his Firm!
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Rachel Sabo of The Friedmann Firm believed in me when no one else did & helped me through every step of my legal process. Very happy with the firm’s professionalism & dedication to my case.
I called them with some questions about my employment and Jamie was very helpful. I didn’t need an attorney to handle a case for me - only to help me navigate an issue I was having at work. She answered my questions and I felt she truly listened to me. I’d recommend this firm to anyone looking for an employment lawyer. Thank you!
Pete resolved issues I was having with my employer in a quick and favorable manner. He is also easy to talk to and understands his clients rights AND needs. You’d do right to call The Friedmann Firm.
I had a terrific experience with Rachel. She handled my case in a very professional manner. She made herself available and always kept me updated. Her knowledge of the law is incredible. She took the time to educate me on the legal processes so I understood what was happening with my case. Thank you Rachel for helping me navigate a most difficult situation. I am so thankful to have had you as my attorney. You have my highest recommendation.