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Sexual Harassment FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Harassment

At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, we believe all deserve a fair, equal and safe workplace. Here are some of our most commonly seen questions throughout this issue:

What Should I Do If I Am Being Sexually Harassed At Work By My Boss? How Should I React If My Manager Keeps Trying To Have Sex With Me?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: Most importantly, say no and protect yourself. If you ever feel in physical danger, call the police. It is absolutely critical to report complaints of sexual harassment in writing. If your boss, manager, or direct supervisor is the one sexually harassing you, give or send the written report to someone higher on the organizational chart or to HR. Your written complaint can be made on paper, by email, through fax, or even by text message. Your written complaint should expressly identify the person or persons involved and the specific acts of sexual harassment.

Describe as many of the sexually harassing incidents as possible, but make clear that you have not listed everything if there is more to tell. Lastly, make sure that you keep copies of every written complaint that you submit to your company, management, HR, etc., as well as anything that you receive back regarding your sexual harassment complaints. If you are having a difficult time doing this on your own, please call our experienced sexual harassment attorneys for a free initial consultation so that we will help you deal with this difficult situation.

Do I Have A Sexual Harassment Claim If I Am Being Sexually Harassed By A Co-Worker? What Should I Do If A Coworker Keeps Trying To Kiss Me And Sends Me Naked Pictures Of His Penis?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: In order to have a sexual harassment claim for conduct done by a co-worker, you must timely report it to your boss, manager, supervisor or human resources and allow them the opportunity to investigate and correct the problem. However, if management directly observed and permitted the sexually harassing conduct to continue, you may have a claim even before reporting the conduct. Nonetheless, the best approach is to timely report it. If management or HR does nothing to stop the sexual harassment by your co-worker, you should be able to assert a claim directly against the company for its failure to act. Again, you should document all sexual harassment in writing, including sharing all naked pictures that are sent to you.
Do not be discouraged if nothing is done about sexual harassment after your first complaint. Instead, it is very important for you to keep reporting it every time it happens. Obviously, if it gets to a point where you do not feel safe, remove yourself from the environment and let your boss or manager know that is why you are leaving. If it has gotten to that point, it is very important to consult and get help from the best employment law attorney that you can find.

Is My Boss Allowed To Fire Me If I Report Him To HR For Sending Groping Me And Trying To Kiss Me? Can I Be Fired For Reporting Sexual Harassment About My Manager?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: No. Well, you cannot lawfully be fired for reporting and opposing sexual harassment. Both Ohio and Federal law make it illegal for your employer to retaliate against for making a good faith report of sexual harassment. Employment lawyers call this wrongful termination. These same laws also make it unlawful for a company or employer to retaliate against any person (even if he or she is not the victim) for reporting sexual harassment, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing. To that end, a manager or supervisor cannot fire, demote, discipline or take other adverse actions against any employee who engages in the above protected activities. Indeed, often the retaliation claim is stronger than many sexual harassment claims.

What Type Of Damages Can I Get For Sexual Harassment? What Is My Claims For Sexual Harassment Worth?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: Until amended in 1991, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allowed sexual harassment victims to collect only back pay, lost wages and be reinstated in their jobs. But, as amended in 1991, Title VII now allows sexual harassment victims to recovers damages that can include “future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other nonpecuniary losses.”

These sexual harassment victims can also win punitive damages if the employer acted with malice or with reckless or callous indifference. Further adding to the rights of sexual harassment victims, in 1998 the United States Supreme Court in, Ellerth v. Burlington Industries and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, held that companies may be held vicariously liable if supervisors sexually harass workers even if the employees do not report the harassment and suffered no tangible loss. However, because a lot of different factors will play into what your particular sexual harassment claim is worth, the best way for you to get a sense of what you may recover for being sexually harassed by your boss is to consult a top employee’s attorney.

Can My Boss Sexually Harass Me At A Company Event Or A Bar After Work? What Should I Do If My Manager Got Drunk At The Company Holiday Party And Tried To Have Sex With Me?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: Your boss or manager cannot engage in quid pro quo sexual harassment simply by making the demands for sex while off the clock or off work premises. Forcing subordinates into having sex, performing sexual favors, kissing, or sending naked photographs or pictures off the clock for promotions or job safety is plainly illegal. As for hostile work environment sexual harassment, there may be a claim for sexual harassment if the of the clock or off-premises conduct is so severe and pervasive as to affect the victims’ ability to work.

As A Man, Can I Bring A Sexual Harassment Claim Against A Woman Boss? Can Female Managers Be Sued For Sexual Harassment By Male Employees?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: Sexual harassment claims are not just for women. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), 16.4 percent of the sexual harassment charges are filed by men. All of the claim requirements and advice above applies equally to male victims of sexual harassment as it does women. (See Top Employment Law Attorney: Do Not File With The EEOC Without Doing This FirstFile With The EEOC Or Get A Lawyer? Call The Right AttorneyShould I Get A Lawyer To Help Me File An EEOC Charge?; and Should I File With The EEOC On My Own? Call The Right Attorney).

Can I Be Sexually Harassed By Someone Of The Same Gender? Can There Be LGBT Or LGBTQ Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: Yes. Sexual harassment claims are not limited to cross-gender conduct. Men can be sexually harassed by men, and women can be sexually harassed by women. In fact, the most employment discrimination protection that LGBT/LGBTQ workers have is under sexual harassment laws.

My Boss Said That I Don’t Have A Sexual Harassment Claim Because I Agreed To Have Sex With Him Once Already. Is That True?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: To avoid liability, our attorneys have heard countless stories of managers and supervisors informing their victims of sexual harassment because they performed the sexual act even under threat, they have no claim because they consented.

While it is certainly preferable for the sexual harassment victim to reject all requests for sexual favors, the United States Supreme Court has held that even if the employee engaged in sexual relations a number of times with a superior, she still has the right to recover for sexual harassment if her performance of sexual acts was not voluntary and/or due to fear of retaliation. To that end, a sexual harassment victim cannot truly “consent” if there is threat, intimidation, or retaliation involved in the unwelcome conduct.

If I Previously Dated My Boss But Broke Up With Him, Can His Sexual Advances At Work Still Be Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: Yes, but you will need to take a few extra steps. One of the legal requirements for any type of sexual harassment claim is that the conduct being complained of is “unwelcome.” While your boss, supervisor, or manager may argue that his or her sexual advances are not unwelcome based on your prior relationship, you should be ready to produce documentation that those advances are indeed unwelcome. You should send your boss one or more text messages or emails letting him know that his or her sexual advances are now unwelcome. This way, you have some tangible evidence on this issue.

Moreover, if your ex-boyfriend/manager takes “tangible employment action” (fired, demoted, refused to promote, etc.) because you dumped him or will not continue to have sex with him, it is less essential to prove the “unwelcome” element of a sexual harassment case. Instead, the company that you work for will have to show that was a non-discriminatory reason for taking that tangible employment action. Of course, you will be given a chance to show that the company’s reason for demoting or firing you was a lie, or what employment discrimination lawyers call pretext.

I Was Fired Because Refused Blow My Boss Or Have Sex With Him; Can I Sue? Do I Have A Claim For Sexual Harassment Or Wrongful Termination?

Sexual Harassment Attorney: Our employment attorneys have provided as much information as we possibly can on this employment law website, but your particular chances to prevail on a claim for sexual harassment and wrongful termination cannot be properly evaluated without a discussion regarding the facts relating to your termination and employment situation. Because our employment law attorneys fight for employees’ rights every day, we offer a free initial consultation for Ohio claims. It is not worth guessing about your possible rights and claims when a call or filling out a submission form or set up a telephone call to get you a free answer.

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DISCLAIMER: These answers do not constitute legal advice or guidance.