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Is your employer liable to pay for your sexual harassment?

Employer liability is one of the most important issues in any sexual harassment claim. If an employer is liable, then the claimant can receive financial compensation for his or her injuries and damages, paid by the employer.

If the employer is not liable, the victim might not be able to get remunerated for his or her injuries. Before you pursue a claim for sexual harassment damages, it's important to evaluate how you will prove that your employer is liable.

Factors that determine employer liability

Under federal law, employers that have 15-plus employees can be held liable for sexual harassment damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. State law will govern cases that involve employers with fewer than 15 employees.

The liability of your employer may also depend on the type of sexual harassment that occurred. For example, under Title VII, companies will be liable to pay monetary loss, and pain and suffering damages if hostile work environment harassment or quid pro quo sexual harassment occurred. The liability of your employer may also be affected by who committed the harassment and the actions the employer took to resolve the situation.

Sexual harassment examples and employer liability

Here are three sexual harassment examples as they pertain to employer liability:

  • If the employee was fired, demoted, or punished on the job in some way through demotion or changes in responsibilities in connection with sexual harassment, then the employer will be liable.
  • If the worker suffered from hostile work environment harassment, the employer is liable unless: (1) the employer reasonably tried to prevent harassment and took immediate action to stop the harassment after it was made known; and (2) the employee would not take advantage of the measures offered.
  • If a co-worker commits the harassment, the employer will be liable if he or she was aware -- or should have been aware -- of the harassment, and if he or she failed to take immediate corrective measures.

Were you sexually harassed on the job?

Understanding who may be liable for your sexual harassment case is an essential part of determining the best strategy for seeking financial compensation. When you fully understand the factors that result in a liable employer, you can better illuminate those issues when you present your sexual harassment case in court.

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