Best Ohio Sexual Harassment Attorney Answer: What do I do if my boss took an inappropriate picture of me? Should I complain about my manager making inappropriate sexual comments? Can my employer discipline me for complaining about sexual harassment?
Ever hear the adage, “What came first, bread or beer?” Well, it isn’t just a philosophical musing similar to the chicken and the egg. There are legitimate scholars out there who suggest that it is possible that beer was being brewed 5,000 to 7,000 years ago at the same time that our ancestors were discovering how to cultivate crops, farm, and make bread. In fact, among other famous rules like, “an eye for an eye” Hammurabi’s code, included rules for tavern keepers, and rules for female inheritance including female prostitutes. On a related note, maybe you’ve even heard about prostitution being referred to as, “the world’s oldest profession.”
One may think that as a society on the whole, we’ve upped our game from the practices common to ancient Mesopotamian or Babylonian civilizations. I mean, we have created some delicious varieties of beer (enter unsolicited plug for Cleveland’s very own famous Great Lakes Christmas Ale) and we agree that women should be treated as equals to men. Yet a recent case involving sexual harassment may suggest that there is still some work to do on the equality front.
Tina Haskenhoff was employed at Homeland Energy Solutions as a lab manager. Homeland Energy Solutions is an Iowa based company in the business of creating ethanol from corn. Yes, ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, the same basic ingredient found in alcoholic beverages, solvents, antiseptics, and fuels. Created by the process of fermenting sugars and yeasts, ethanol production may also be one of the world’s oldest professions according to the evidence of early brewing activities in ancient civilizations.
Haskenhoff alleged that her manager regularly made inappropriate comments about women, and women’s breasts. Haskenhoff noted that her manager took a photo of her cleavage at a baseball game and shared the photo with colleagues, and recalled another incident where a female applicant for a position did not stand a chance of being hired because other male employees thought she was too ugly. Additionally, after Haskenhoff needed to make arrangements for time off to have a mammogram, her manager told her instead that other employees would probably pay her to fondle her breasts if she sat in the parking lot. Most people would probably agree that Haskenhoff’s last allegation sounds a bit like attempted prostitution – all should see this as gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Haskenhoff complained about the treatment, but in the same meeting where the company acknowledged that unprofessional and distasteful comments were being made, the company decided to not only reprimand Haskenhoff’s manager, but also to discipline Haskenhoff herself for reacting unprofessionally to Haskenhoff’s behavior. A classic example of retaliation.
Haskenhoff was able to show that her employer’s conduct caused her to suffer from PTSD and depression. Ultimately, the jury awarded Haskenhoff $100,000 for lost wages, $300,000 for past emotional distress, and $1,000,000 for future emotional distress making it a grand total $1.4 million award. Ironically, Homeland continued to downplay Haskenhoff’s allegations when in response to the verdict the company commented that it reacted appropriately to Haskenhoff’s, “non-physical” complaints.
In prior blogs, we’ve discussed many cases where employees receive substantial awards after losing a job due to sexual harassment or reporting sexual harassment. In those cases, the plaintiffs allege that their employer treated them differently or less favorably due to their gender or the fact that they complained about harassment. For employees in Ohio, state and federal laws are in place to protect workers from this type of behavior, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as Ohio R.C. § 4112.02.
The best thing to remember is that even if you are engaging in one of the world’s oldest professions (fermentation, that is) it is not okay to treat your female employees like they only exist for the other “oldest profession.” And, if you happen to be unlucky enough to work for an employer like that, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced Ohio employment law attorney as soon as you can.
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. 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. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
The materials available at the top of this page and at this gender discrimination, wrongful termination, and sex harassment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “what should I do …”, “I’m being sexually harassed …” “my supervisor grabbed my…”, “my boss is touching…,” “I’ve been wrongfully terminated,” or “how do I …”, your best course is to 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 the top of this page or through this employment law website are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.