The United States Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as including requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and other kinds of abusive or offensive conduct. However, any unwelcome conduct that is based on sex and creates a hostile, offensive, oppressive, or intimidating work environment can constitute sexual harassment.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed at work, seek the help of a sexual harassment attorney. You should keep records about the harassment, including what happened, when, and where. Ask the harasser to stop; ask management to make them stop. If this does not stop the harassment, you may need to file a complaint with a governmental agency such as your state agency or the EEOC before you file a lawsuit. In such a lawsuit, you may recover damages and equitable remedies.
Sexual harassment claims can result in various types of damages. The damages available include:
Lost wages include any wages you didn’t receive in the past and wages you should receive in the future. If, for example, your company denied you a promotion, you may be entitled to the increased salary that you should have received and increased wages in the future. These might also include lost benefits or pension contributions, shift bonuses, lost raises, and any other payments for employment that you should have received if the harassment had not occurred.
The least easily calculated damages in a sexual harassment suit are those for emotional distress. Depending on how your state or federal government limits the potential award, you may recover significant damages for this element.
In addition to financial damages, you may be eligible to receive the lost job or promotion that you lost as a result of the harassment.
If you prevail in a civil action brought under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, the court can award you reasonable attorney fees and costs.
In cases of especially egregious conduct, a court may award a victim of sexual harassment with punitive damages. Punitive damages may be available if, for example, your employer was aware of the harassment but took no steps to end the harassment. Usually, this occurs when upper management was informed of the misconduct and took no action.
To learn what you might seek in your employment law matter, speak with the legal team of Minnis & Smallets today.
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