The employment discrimination attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm often meet with clients that have faced sexual harassment in the workplace and on the job. Often, the sexually harassed workers come to us after they have been fired. Buts, some smartly come in for a free initial consultation while still employed to tell us: “my boss is sexually harassing me.” What should you do if you are being sexually harassed by your manager? Each situation is different, and you should consult an experienced top employment lawyer, but the usual first steps are to report the conduct to HR and always document the conduct.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a plaintiff claiming that he or she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment or gender discrimination must show four things: (1) that the harassment was unwelcome, (2) that the harassment was based on sex, (3) that the harassing conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to affect the “terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment,” and (4) that either (a) the harassment was committed by a supervisor, or (b) the employer, through its agents or supervisory personnel, knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
Many times plaintiffs strike out on the third requirement because, although the conduct complained of may be offensive, it is not severe or pervasive enough to violate Title VII. Therefore, one of the best things an employee can do to support a hostile a work environment claim is to keep a log of the “hostile” or offensive activity, including what happened, when it happened, who was involved, and who was present. As one recent case illustrates, keeping that kind of log can provide crucial support for a hostile work environment claim.
Maria Monche, a former prison guard at New York’s Rikers Island prison, filed a sexual harassment suit against the city claiming that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by a deputy warden named Raphael Olivo. According to Monche , Olivo undressed in front of her, ogled her body, and made numerous lewd remarks. In an interesting twist, the Correction Department provided the paper trail to support Monche’s claims. According to court papers, there were so many complaints about Olivo’s behavior that the Correction Department kept an open file on his conduct, which they referred to whenever a new complaint came in.
As a result of the lawsuit, NYC paid $600,000 to Monche and three other female correction officers. A spokeswoman for the city Law Department confirmed that Monche received $360,000 while the remaining plaintiffs each got $80,000.
It defies logic that the Correction Department would continue to employ Olivo despite his alleged running tab of harassment allegations. Unfortunately, this situation arises all too often. Also, most employers who decide to turn a blind eye to harassment allegations do not bother to keep track of the instances of alleged harassment. If your employer has not addressed a situation that you feel is creating a hostile work environment, start a log of your own, and immediately speak with an experienced employment attorney.
If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney at (216) 291-4744 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a form of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment.
The materials available at the top of this page and at this gender discrimination and employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It is best contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.