Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Your workplace should be a safe environment. You should be able to work in peace, and you should never feel uncomfortable doing your job. If you are being sexually harassed, it’s time to make that stop. A sexual harassment lawyer can help. They’ll know the law and can use this information to end to the hostile environment you’re dealing with. Contact a sexual harassment attorney to make the harassment stop.
What is sexual harassment?
A hostile environment will often include sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can take the form of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and physical or verbal harassment.
All harassment isn’t sexual. But all harassment is wrong and unwelcome. Sometimes harassment includes remarks about the sex of the person. This is illegal, even if it is not sexual harassment. Also, employers shouldn’t make comments about women in general. This is considered harassment.
It is illegal to harass a person based on their sex. The harasser and the victim can be either gender. Sometimes it’s a man harassing a woman. Sometimes it’s a woman harassing a woman. The details of who harasses can vary, but all harassment should be stopped.
The law can be vague about sexual harassment. Compliments, teasing, and isolated cases are not serious enough violations to be considered sexual harassment. If the action happens once, it isn’t sexual harassment. Your employer can’t stop all inappropriate behaviors all the time. A single incident won’t be enough to file a sexual harassment case.
If the action is frequent or severe, that is another issue. It can include comments, touching, or other actions. Sometimes it comes with the threat of losing your job.
A sexual harassment attorney is trained to understand sexual harassment in the workplace. They will answer your questions and can help you file your claim.
What actions count as sexual harassment?
Some actions count as sexual harassment and some don’t. Some actions can make you feel bad, but this doesn’t make them illegal. Your sexual harassment attorney will know what actions constitute sexual harassment.
It doesn’t matter who starts the sexual harassment. It may be a manager, co-worker, vendor, contractor, or client. No matter who does it, creating a hostile environment in Houston, TX or anywhere else is unacceptable.
There are several types of sexual harassment. Some examples seen in the workplace include:
- Sharing sexual videos or images. These can be obscene pictures, pornography, or salacious gifts.
- Sending numerous notes, emails, and letters. These can include anything that is sexually suggestive that makes the victim feel attacked.
- Posters and images in the workplace, including in personal offices. These can include sexual or offensive images.
- Staring can be sexual harassment. It can be sexually suggestive and offending. Some kinds of whistling are also problematic.
- Sexual comments about a person’s body part, clothing, or appearance.
- Any touching that is not business-like. Workers must respect each other bodies and personal space. Rubbing, patting, pinching, and groping are not allowed. Brushing against someone on purpose is a problem as well.
- Sexual questions are sexual harassment. This can include questions about sexual history. It also includes questions about sexual orientation.
- Offensive comments, including comments about gender.
These are just some examples of sexual harassment. If a person’s behavior is sexual harassment, that creates a hostile environment. Any word or action that is inappropriately sexual can make it hard to work. Victims are not only the only people affected. Co-workers who hear or see sexual harassment towards others are also harmed.
How often an inappropriate action happens does matter. An action that occurs once is not harassment, even if it makes you feel bad. A repeated action may be harassment. You can ask a person to stop certain comments or actions. If the person does stop, then it isn’t sexual harassment in Houston, TX. If they don’t stop, you need the help of a sexual harassment lawyer.
A lot depends on context. While comments that are sexual in nature are harassment, compliments about your work are not. While touching you on purpose is harassment, brushing against you in a busy hall is not. Talk to your sexual harassment attorney. They can tell you what counts as sexual harassment in Houston, TX or any other location.
Actions or words happening many times is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is never okay. They can cause a hostile environment in Houston, TX, and this makes it hard to do your work. A sexual harassment lawyer can help. They know the law around sexual harassment and have experience helping other victims. Let them help you with your case. Discuss the sexual harassment with your lawyer to learn your options.
Reporting the sexual harassment
You must report any actions of sexual harassment to HR. This is hard for some people. Some people worry that reporting will get them in trouble. They may worry that others may overreact to their report. Some workplaces are simply not friendly to employees, and the victim may want other options.
The first step is reporting the action or comment. A sexual harassment attorney can’t help until you do. The law states that victims must report sexual harassment. You must report to your employer first, even if this makes you feel uncomfortable. No claim can be filed until the report is done. The human resource department is the place to start, but there should be other options too. Look at your company’s policy to know where to make your report.
Making your report allows the employer to fix the problem. It doesn’t mean they will, even if the harassment happens often. The employer gets to choose if the guilty party may still get to work there. Either way, you must still report. The employer must be given this chance. If they don’t respond, they are held liable. If the harassment happens again, you can sue.
It’s tempting to jump ahead and get a lawyer. You may not feel comfortable with reporting the harassment. Or you may worry about retaliation. Following these steps can actually protect you. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) will prevent your employer from retaliating if you gave them a chance to fix the issue. Reporting puts the ball back into their court. Then your employer can decide what to do next.
Make your report in writing. This helps leave a paper trail. If you already did a verbal report, that’s enough to start, but do a follow-up in writing. A verbal notice alone can lead to “he-said, she-said” issues where where it’s hard to determine the truth. Writing down your report leaves evidence behind. Add as much detail as possible to your report, including dates and times. Write down any information you can remember.
The next step is to talk to the EEOC. There are a few things you will have to prove. You must prove the employer had a chance to fix the behavior. You also must prove that the responsible party did not stop. This is why reporting is necessary first.
The EEOC will work on your case, but can take some time since they handle many sexual harassment cases. If you don’t have time, you may need another option. A sexual harassment attorney in Houston is a good person to consult. They can work on your case to settle your claim faster.
Do I need a sexual harassment lawyer?
Some victims do not hire a lawyer and they file right away with the EEOC. Then they wait to hear back. This can take a long time, and often the harassment continues at the same time. The EEOC wants to help. But with so many cases, it can be hard.
You don’t need a lawyer to counteract a hostile environment in Houston, TX. But having a lawyer can speed up the process. They will look at your case and work with you as soon as you hire them. Discuss legal options with your sexual harassment lawyer is much faster than waiting for the EEOC.
Get the attention you need so your situation can improve. Get your sexual harassment and hostile environment dealt with as soon as possible. A sexual harassment lawyer from Houston, TX can be by your side from the start.
No one should deal with sexual harassment. Your workplace should be safe. If you are dealing with sexual harassment, you need help. A sexual harassment attorney in Houston, TX is the right choice. Contact us at Texas Sexual Harassment Lawyer today to get started.