Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against employees based on gender. This includes sexual harassment in the workplace. This is ANY unwelcome or inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature.
The key to these types of lawsuits is “unwelcome and inappropriate”. There are certain acts or words that can be immediately categorized as unwelcome. For example, grabbing another co-worker from behind would be construed as both unwelcome and inappropriate. However, in this day and age, that can go even further. It can be text messages, or social media messages, or any electronic form of communication between co-workers (whether during work hours or not) that is unwelcome or inappropriate.
There is a second key that is essential to sexual harassment cases: “unwelcome”. Unfortunately, part of holding a company responsible is to make sure that the company is aware that a co-worker is making UNWELCOME sexual advances towards you. You must report this to Human Resources or to a manager. This is an essential element of a lawsuit, and if not done correctly can cause your case to be dismissed.
The final key is allowing the company a chance to investigate and do the right thing. The problem here is, more often than not, the company will not do a proper investigation nor do the right thing even if they find the sexual harassment to be true. If they do nothing, or worse, act out towards you in retaliation, then you possibly have the makings of a lawsuit.
Protect yourself. Document what is happening to you. Report the unwanted behavior. And most importantly… call a lawyer.
(Ace Law Group has been representing victims of sexual harassment in the workplace since 2009. We do free and confidential consultations. Call us at 702-333-4223.)