Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you have been victimized at work and you need a sexual harassment attorney, trust the team at SMITH LAW to fight for your legal rights. The Firm’s employment law practice primarily focuses on workplace sexual harassment and employer retaliation against victims who stand up for themselves.

Our team of skilled Georgia sexual harassment attorneys have successfully represented employees who have been sexually harassed at work by their co-workers and members of management. For instance, our sexual harassment attorneys obtained a six-figure settlement in only six weeks on behalf of a female employee who had been verbally sexually harassed by her male co-worker.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is a type of sex-based discrimination that is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both women and men can be victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), almost 80% of all sexual harassment charges filed between 2018 and 2021 were filed by women.

The clients that our sexual harassment attorneys serve face two basic types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment sexual harassment and tangible employment action sexual harassment, also referred to as “quid pro quo” sexual harassment.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Hostile work environment sexual harassment arises when the harassment is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with your ability to do your job and creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Frequent sexual advances, sexual comments, and sexual innuendos may create a hostile work environment. Also, a one-time touching of an intimate body part may, by itself, create a hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment arises when the terms of your employment are conditioned upon compliance with a supervisor’s sexual demands. A tangible employment action is considered any action that causes a significant change in your employment status. Examples of these actions include hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, suspension, reduction in hours, reduction in pay, change in job duties, and other actions based upon the employee’s response to the harassment. For example, an employee may establish a claim for tangible employment action sexual harassment by showing that her refusal to submit to her supervisor’s sexual advances resulted in her termination.

Preserving Evidence and Reporting Sexual Harassment

Our sexual harassment attorneys recommend you gather and preserve as much evidence of the harassment as possible. Types of evidence include witnesses, emails, text messages, pictures, contemporaneous diary entries, social media posts, medical records, etc. Corroborating evidence may be necessary to avoid a “he-said/she-said” situation.

Generally, you should immediately report the sexual harassment to a member of management. If your employer has a sexual harassment policy with a specific procedure for reporting sexual harassment, you should follow that procedure. Your failure to report the sexual harassment could undermine your sexual harassment claim.

Generally, to preserve a claim for sexual harassment, or retaliation, under federal law, you must first file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of the last discriminatory act or adverse employment action. If you fail to file a timely Charge of Discrimination, then you may not be able to pursue your claims for sexual harassment or retaliation.

Employer Liability and Retaliation in Sexual Harassment Matters

Generally, an employer is strictly liable for tangible employment action sexual harassment. In other words, if a supervisor takes tangible employment action against a subordinate for rejecting his sexual advances the employer may be held responsible for the supervisor’s actions without the employee having to prove negligence or intentional acts.

By contrast, an employer may have a defense to hostile work environment sexual harassment claims. Specifically, an employer can avoid liability if:

  • The employer exercised reasonable care to prevent or promptly stop the sexual harassment; and
  • the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective measures provided by the employer.

An employer does not exercise reasonable care to prevent sexual harassment merely by including a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy in its employee handbook. For that policy to be effective, an employer must actually enforce that policy. In other words, employers who fail to adhere to their own anti-sexual harassment policies may be held liable for hostile work environment sexual harassment.

If an employer takes an adverse employment action against you for reporting sexual harassment (for example, the employer fires you or does anything else that would deter a reasonable person from complaining about similar conduct in the future), you may also bring a claim against your employer for retaliation.

Contact Our Sexual Harassment Attorneys for a Free Case Evaluation

With the help of our sexual harassment attorneys you may recover compensatory damages, which include economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include out-of-pocket expenses such as current and future lost wages and benefits that you would have received if you had not been terminated. Non-economic damages include mental pain and suffering such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional and psychological conditions.

If you have been the victim of any of the situations described above, you should speak with a lawyer the specializes in sexual harassment rights. Contact the sexual harassment attorneys at SMITH LAW for a consultation. Our compassionate and dedicated investigation team will go the extra mile to fight for the best result possible.

Although we are located in Gwinnett County, we serve clients throughout the state of Georgia. Please contact us today for a free case evaluation.