Sexual HarassmentSexual Harassment Attorney in Florida
Despite federal and Florida state laws making sex discrimination illegal, sexual harassment is an all-too-common issue in workplaces across the state. Sexual harassment can bring feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger as you may worry about losing your job or not being believed if you say something.
If you have experienced sexual harassment at work that has contributed to a hostile work environment or affected your ability to get promoted, it’s important to seek experienced legal counsel from a sexual harassment attorney in Florida to protect your rights, end the harassment, and seek fair compensation for the harm you have suffered.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
In general, sexual harassment is considered any type of unwanted sexual advance or verbal or physical behavior that contributes to a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment can also be defined as subjecting an employee to pervasive and severe inappropriate behavior which creates an uncomfortable or hostile work environment.
Sexual harassment can be divided into three main types of behavior, including:
Discriminatory Treatment for Employment Purposes
Employers cannot treat employees differently due to their gender. Adverse employment actions based on gender fall under sexual harassment and may include:
- Refusal to promote
- Reducing or limiting benefits
- Refusal to hire
Sexual Harassment that Creates a Hostile Work Environment
This refers to pervasive inappropriate behavior that makes the work environment uncomfortable and it may include:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Inappropriate physical contact such as a hand on your back
- Explicit emails, memos, or notes
- Derogatory remarks about someone's gender or comments about someone's relationships, clothing, or body
- Sex-based innuendo and jokes
- Non-verbal inappropriate behavior such as obscene gestures, staring, or facial expressions that are sexual in nature
Sexual harassment does not need to be sexual in nature if it singles out someone and treats them differently because of their gender.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Finally, sexual harassment can involve requests for sexual favors in exchange for a raise, benefits, promotion, hiring, or continued employment.
Who Can Be Sued for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
It’s a common misconception that only a supervisor, boss, or manager can be sued for sexual harassment. The truth is almost anyone within an organization can be sued including coworkers, managers of another department, agents of the employer, and sometimes people who are not employed by the company such as clients.
There are unique rules that apply to sexual harassment commited by a supervisor or manager, however. When a supervisor’s harassment results in some type of negative employment action such as termination, loss of a raise, or failure to hire or promote, the employer may also be legally liable for harassment unless they attempted to prevent or correct the behavior. Employers can also be considered complicit if they discouraged an employee from complaining about a coworker’s or manager’s unwanted behavior or language.
How a Sexual Harassment Attorney Can Help
If you have faced sexual harassment because of your gender, a Florida sexual harassment lawyer will work to stop the behavior and may be able to help you recover compensation for damages you have suffered.
An experienced sexual harassment attorney will help you gather evidence by reviewing security footage, the employer’s history of discriminatory conduct, how the employer has responded to past reports of harassment, and interviewing witnesses. The harassment should also be reported to the human resources department and possibly the EEOC to file formal charges.
The next step is filing a lawsuit if your employer does not remedy the situation. In this case, your attorney will seek damages from the harasser and/or your employer. If your case proceeds to a lawsuit, your lawyer may help you seek damages such as:
- Medical expenses related to the harassment such as the cost of counseling
- Los wages
- Pain and suffering
- Reinstatement if you were denied employment or fired
- Punitive damages in the case of very egregious behavior
If you have suffered sexual harassment that has resulted in adverse employment actions or created a hostile workplace environment, contact the Florida sexual harassment attorneys at SteinLaw today to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you review your legal options and the best course of action to remedy the situation.