Sexual Harassment Attorney Near Me
Both federal and state law protect people from being discriminated against based on certain characteristics, including their sex. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to occur at an alarming rate and has devastating consequences for both men and women across the country. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, you should contact an experienced sexual harassment attorney who can explain your legal rights and options.
Sexual Harassment Defined
The law recognizes two forms of sexual harassment, known as quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment respectively. The former occurs when an employer or supervisor makes an employee’s advancement, pay, or benefits dependent on whether that individual will submit to unwelcome sexual conduct. The latter form of sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct is so pervasive that it interferes with an employee’s performance by creating a hostile environment. An employee does not have to have been the target of sexual harassment him or herself to file a hostile work environment claim. As long as an employee witnessed the inappropriate conduct in his or her immediate work area, the employee may be able to collect damages under a sexual harassment claim.
What Qualifies as Unwelcome Sexual Conduct?
For a person’s actions to satisfy the requirements of either category of harassment, the conduct at issue must be unwelcome, which means that it is both:
- Unsolicited; and
While it can be difficult to determine what types of behavior qualifies as sexual conduct, courts have determined that the following actions satisfy the definition:
- Sharing sexually explicit images while in the workplace;
- Sending suggestive emails;
- Making sexual gestures;
- Inappropriate touching;
- Making sexual comments or telling lewd jokes;
- Inquiring about an employee’s sexual history; and
- Requesting sexual favors.
Unlike quid pro quo harassment, hostile work environment harassment does not require an employer or coworker to make sexual advances. As long as gender is a significant factor in the discriminatory acts, a person will have sufficient grounds to file a sexual harassment claim.
When a court determines that sexual harassment has occurred in the workplace, it may award the following remedies:
- Reinstatement in the previous position;
- Back pay;
- Compensation for attorney’s fees and court costs;
- Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discrimination, such as job search costs and medical expenses;
- Compensation for emotional harm; and
- Punitive damages awarded to prevent similar behavior in the future.
The amount of compensatory and punitive damages that an employee is able to recover will depend on the number of employees that work for the company. For instance, plaintiffs are limited to recovering $50,000 if their employer pays between 15 and 100 employees, while employers who hire between 101 and 200 employees could be required to pay $100,000 in damages.
Contact us Today to Speak With an Experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney
If you live or work in Columbus and have been the victim of sexual harassment, please contact Marshall & Forman, LLC at (614) 463-9790 to speak to a knowledgeable and compassionate sexual harassment attorney. A member of our legal team can also be reached via email.