A coworker made a crude recommendation to you at a promotion for a project that your team has been working on. This person has previously harassed you at work with sexual innuendos and other inappropriate behavior, so you are used to it.
However, you enjoy your job and work in a setting where "work hard/play hard" is the guiding principle. You worry that, despite being appropriate, making a scene over a coworker could hurt your career. Should you now seek legal advice?
In this article, we'll talk about sexual harassment, when it happens, and how to get legal advice. Fighting Sexual Harassment offers suggestions for what companies may do to create a workplace free of sexual harassment.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Before determining what, if anything, to do when you are the target of harassment at work, you may have a lot of questions that need to be answered. They include the following:
- Was this sexual harassment in the legal sense?
- What should I respond to the troll with?
- Should I report the harassment to the police?
- Is there anything I can do to safeguard myself from harassment in the future?
- What can I do to prevent my employer from taking action against me for reporting the misconduct?
An accomplished employment attorney can offer solutions to these problems.
What Is Sexual Harassment, Exactly?
A hostile or uncomfortable work atmosphere is created by any unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other sexually driven verbal or physical behavior. Not every insult will be deemed to be sexual harassment in accordance with the law.
If you come across behavior that you think constitutes sexual harassment, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as you can to ascertain whether the behavior complies with the legal definition of harassment.
An Attorney Should Be Consulted Before Sexual Harassment Is Reported
Even if you are the target of harassment, you may still need to protect your rights. For instance, you might be required by your employer's policy—or even the law—to inform human resources or administrative staff about any alleged sexual harassment in order to hold the company accountable.
(Take note that you are not obligated by law to disclose the harassment in order to hold the employer accountable if the harasser is a management.) You can find the right HR representative or other employee to whom you should report potential harassment with the help of an experienced employment lawyer. You may also need the assistance of a lawyer while you formulate your account of the harassment.
In this manner, if you experience any anxiety when discussing the conduct with HR or a manager (which is usual), you'll be able to succinctly and kindly convey all of the pertinent information.
Helping You to Protect Yourself
In addition to helping you get ready to report harassment, an employment lawyer will give you advice on other measures you can take to protect yourself. These steps include:
- Recording the abuse and all conversations you have about it with your employer
- Preparing you to cope with the harasser if the behavior continues, giving you advice on how to notify your employer of any future workplace harassment, and
- Keep an eye on how your company handles your complaint to make sure they don't take any adverse action against you.
- It might be challenging to formulate a rational response when dealing with workplace harassment. An employee who has experienced sexual harassment can be too emotionally spent and confused to be in a position to formulate a thoughtful response. In deciding what actions to take, an employment lawyer could be a useful resource.
Help in the investigation into harassment
The law requires your employer to look into any claims of sexual harassment. Additionally, during the course of the investigation, your employer is prohibited from taking any actions that would endanger your job.
An expert employment lawyer can check in with you during the investigation to make sure the employer is abiding by the law. For additional information on your rights during a sexual harassment investigation, see Do You Need a Lawyer for a Workplace Sexual Harassment Inquiry?.
Retaliation against employees who report sexual harassment is not permitted by employers. Although these actions are unquestionably retaliatory, retaliation does not only include disciplinary measures or termination.
A lawyer can look into whether your managers' actions are retaliatory if, for instance, they demote you from desirable tasks or exclude you from gatherings, activities, or even social outings after you report harassment.
Talk about Filing Fees
The formal processes you could take to contest sexual harassment will also be explained by a labor lawyer. One of options is bringing a discrimination claim against your employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state's anti-discrimination agency.
The Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can also go over the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of filing a lawsuit against your workplace if you're not satisfied with how it handled your sexual harassment complaint.
There are four qualities to look for in a sexual harassment attorney.
We've created a list of essential qualities to consider when hiring a sexual harassment attorney.
- Recognizing the method
In a case of sexual assault, empathy is essential for recognizing a client's feelings. In order to get a suitable response, people surely address their issues with a sexual harassment attorney.
A business or tax law attorney does not need to be compassionate when handling a sexual assault case, but a sexual harassment attorney does. A sympathetic attorney is better suited to understand the victim's emotions.
They must imagine themselves in your position and act accordingly to assist you. If your sexual harassment attorneys are aware of your feelings over the incident, they will be able to reach the finest decisions.
- Capability to Listen
The ability to speak clearly is one of the most crucial qualities of a great sexual harassment attorney. They must consider when to speak, what to say, and how to communicate with you, but they can only speak appropriately if they listen well.
In addition to paying close attention to what you have to say, lawyers must also pay attention to what their peers, opponents, and the court are saying. When a sexual harassment attorney pays close attention to you and gathers all the necessary information, they can analyze and synthesize the entire case to make an informed decision.
- Analysis Capabilities
A knowledgeable and experienced sexual harassment attorney should be able to come to a fair and rational conclusion while handling a sexual assault case. When you hire a sexual harassment attorney, you want them to use reason while dealing with scant evidence.
They should also be able to develop a critical mindset when assessing choices to identify the case's advantages and disadvantages. A sexual harassment attorney must be able to assess the available options in order to determine which one is most appropriate for the circumstances at hand.
- Personality Qualities
The law is not exacting, and finding the optimal solution requires researching earlier instances of the same problem. Remember that the decisions a sexual harassment attorney makes will have a significant influence on your life when choosing one.