Sexual harassment is an unfortunate reality for countless workers across the United States. Despite all of the attention that has been given to workplace sexual harassment in the media and elsewhere, it seems that there will always be supervisors and owners who are willing to take unfair advantage of their positions to sexually badger and offend others in the workplace. Fortunately, federal and state laws take a pretty hard line against sexual harassment in the workplace. However, you need to understand what rights you have–and don’t have–and how to protect your rights if you feel you are being subjected to sexual harassment at work.
From inappropriate and unwanted touching, comments, and advances, to repeated and offensive jokes and actions, sexual harassment can make your work environment a nightmare. At Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A., we represent people who have been victimized by sexual harassment in the workplace. Each sexual harassment attorney at our Cincinnati law firm has substantial experience in discrimination litigation and employment litigation matters. Contact us if you have been affected by sexual harassment in the workplace.
Let Us Help You Find a Solution
While we welcome inquiries from any industry or employment setting, many of our clients are professional employees and executives. Teachers, doctors, nurses, attorneys, stockbrokers, flight attendants, and managers in small or large businesses can be harmed by sexual harassment. Whether your case involves the creation of a hostile environment or a promise of a job-related benefit in exchange for sexual favors, we can help you find the proper resolution to your problem.
Common Questions about Sexual Harassment
What should I do if I believe I’m being sexually harassed at work?
If you find yourself in this situation, here are three things you should do.
- Gather evidence and document the illegal behavior
- Report it to a supervisor or HR
- Contact an employment lawyer
Can my employer punish me for reporting sexual harassment?
If you are a victim of sexual harassment — or any type of discrimination in the workplace, for that matter — your employer is not allowed to punish you or retaliate against you in any way for reporting such conduct. You have the right to report illegal discrimination in the workplace and to be protected from retaliation for doing so.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
If you or a loved one is experiencing sexual harassment at work, it is important to know your rights and also your responsibilities. For example, you generally have an obligation to report any sexual harassment to an appropriate supervisor or Human Resources person. If you simply get tired of the harassment and quit, before you report it to a responsible person at work, you may have given up any right you have to bring a lawsuit or correct the problem. Review your employee handbook or other literature to find your employer’s policy regarding sexual harassment. They will all say that sexual harassment is not tolerated, etc. etc., and that you must report it immediately. They should tell you who to report to, and also what to do if the harasser happens to be your supervisor.
Taking Action against Sexual Harassment
It goes without saying that you should let the harasser know that his conduct is not welcome. You can do this in whatever way feels right to you–but you have to make it clear that you want the conduct to stop. Laughing or going along with it or being vague about how you feel may not be enough. You don’t have to be angry and offensive about it–although it may be perfectly appropriate to express anger and offense–but you must make it crystal clear to the harasser that you do not like the conduct and that you want it to stop. Otherwise, you leave yourself open to the claim that you “welcomed” the conduct because you went along with it.
Deciding whether or not to report harassment to higher authorities can be a difficult decision. Once you report it, your relationship with the harasser will probably be changed forever, and if it’s someone you need to get along with to do your job, it can be difficult to decide what to do. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer to talk about your options. You need all of the information you can get before making any difficult decisions. However, there are two things you should never forget: you should NOT put up with sexually-oriented behavior or comments that make you uncomfortable; and, if the conduct doesn’t stop after you’ve made it clear to the harasser that you want it to stop, you MUST report such conduct to the appropriate management persons at work if you want something done about it.
For more information about sexual harassment, please go to our employee rights and information center.
Contact us today if you have questions about sexual harassment. Workplace sexual harassment is unacceptable and you should speak with an attorney if you are experiencing it.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Sexual Harassment
If your question isn’t above, call our office today.