If you feel you’ve been sexually harassed in a school or work environment, then there’s a good chance you have a sexual harassment case on your hands. Several unwanted behaviors point toward sexual harassment. Help keep your school and work environment free of sexual harassment by reporting incidents. If your school or workplace doesn’t do anything to stop the harassment, then contact a harassment lawyer.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual comments and jokes that make you feel uncomfortable may count as sexual harassment. Inappropriate touching, requests for sexual favors, and offhand comments of a sexual nature can also count as sexual harassment. The comments and advances must be continuous and not occasional isolated incidents.
If you’re unsure about what counts as unwelcome sexual advances or inappropriate comments and touches, then contact a lawyer for harassment and ask for advice regarding harassment in the workplace.
What Doesn’t Count as Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment must create a hostile work environment or school environment to count as school or workplace sexual harassment. Teasing and one-off, non-serious comments aren’t illegal.
If the harassment is continuous, then you may be considered a victim of sexual harassment. If you asked your co-worker or schoolmate to stop, but they continued their behavior, then it may also count as school or workplace sexual harassment.
Is Soliciting Sexual Favours for Opportunities at Work Sexual Harassment?
If your boss says you’ll get a raise or promotion if you engage in a sexual act with them or do sexual favors for them, then it may be workplace sexual harassment.
Declining your employer’s sexual advances and then being demoted or fired is also illegal. Your employer can’t ask you to engage in sexual activity or provide sexual favors in exchange for opportunities. They also can’t fire you or remove your job benefits if you refuse to do a sexual favor for them.
Types of Unwelcome Sexual Advances That Point to Sexual Harassment
Sexual Jokes and Comments
If you’re regularly subjected to sexual jokes or comments, then this may be sexual harassment. If you’re uncomfortable and have asked the harasser to stop, yet the behavior continues, then you should report sexual harassment to your HR department or make a complaint to an authority figure at school.
You don’t have to be experiencing sexual harassment during work hours for it to count. If your harasser regularly harasses you outside office hours, then it can still count as workplace sexual harassment.
Unwanted Physical Contact
If someone at work or school is inappropriately touching you, then it may count as sexual assault or harassment. Types of touches that may lead to you being a victim of sexual harassment include pinching, squeezing, and patting. Unwanted hugs and kisses may count as sexual harassment if you’ve asked your co-worker or schoolmate to stop.
One-off hugs are sometimes welcome. However, if somebody keeps hugging you after you’ve asked them to stop, then it may be considered sexual harassment.
Unwelcome Sexual Advances or Requests for Sexual Favors
People making their romantic or sexual interest in others is common. Any of your co-workers may ask you on a date or flirtatiously imply they’d like to engage in sexual acts with you. This is only a crime if their single request for your romantic or sexual attention regards a quid pro quo situation at work.
If you’ve turned down their advances, but the advances continue, then you may be a victim of sexual harassment. This is a serious problem. You’ve made your stance clear on being romantic or engaging in sexual acts with this employee or student, and therefore, the behavior should stop.
Can Sexual Harassment Happen to Anyone?
Women are more likely than men to experience sexual harassment, but anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can be harassed sexually.
You can be harassed by a person of the same sex or the opposite sex, and the harasser can be of any sexual orientation.
Recent surveys show 81% of women have been sexually harassed, and 25% of these people have experienced sexual harassment at work. The surveys also show 43% of men have been harassed sexually during their lives.
More than 11% of people have been a victim of sexual harassment at school.
Statistics also show three in four workplace sexual harassment cases go unreported, and 25% of sexual harassment incidents at universities are also unreported by the victim.
What Do I Do in the Case of Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Your workplace will most likely have procedures in place that you must follow if you’re experiencing sexual harassment. They may be outlined in your employee handbook.
Your first step should be reporting the harassment to the human resources department in your workplace. No HR employee wants you to have to deal with a hostile work environment. HR should reprimand the harasser and take steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment from happening again.
If your workplace does nothing to reprimand the harasser, then it may be time to start looking for harassment lawyers. Federal and state laws prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also prohibits offensive remarks, requests for quid pro quo sexual activity, unwanted physical contact, and more. Every employee and employer is protected under this act.
You should also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you experience sexual harassment, harassment based on your gender identity, unwelcome requests for sex-based favors quid pro quo, and any other form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
What Do I Do If I Experience Sexual Harassment at School?
Different schools have different protocols you must follow if you’ve experienced harassment of a sexual nature. You should be able to request a copy of your school or university’s sexual harassment policy from the front office.
Your school’s sexual harassment policy should outline what you should do if you’re experiencing harassment of a sexual nature. For example, the policy may tell you to inform a teacher, your guidance counselor, the principal, or a dean if you’re dealing with unwanted comments or physical contact.
If your school doesn’t take the issue seriously, then you may be able to report your school to the Department of Education. This harassment can negatively affect your education and life in general. You should also start looking into sexual harassment lawyers, as you may be able to file a legal claim.
How Should I Turn Down Advances of a Sexual Nature?
If someone is engaging in unwanted touching, making sexual comments, or requesting sexual favors while you’re at school or on the job, then make your stance clear on the matter. Tell them they’re making you uncomfortable and you want them to stop.
You could also attempt to get an audio recording of the situation where you asked this person to stop. You may be able to use this recording as evidence that you asked them to stop their bad behavior. This may be useful evidence when you’re making a complaint or legal claim about your hostile work environment.
The law lets you record a conversation if your conversation happens in any public place where there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy. A shared workspace or school area may count as a public area if several other employees or students are around at the time. If you’re unsure about whether or not you can record conversations in a specific situation, then ask an attorney.
If the communication happens over the phone, then the law lets you record it as long as you’re one of the parties involved in the phone call. This is because Missouri is a one-party consent state.
What Types of Evidence Are Needed To Support a Sexual Harassment Claim?
Written or Recorded Evidence of the Harassment
A lot of harassment these days happens digitally, so if you’ve received any text messages or emails containing harassment, then show these to your attorney. If your harasser wrote physical notes, then you should also share these with your harassment attorney.
If you recorded any conversations containing verbal harassment, then it would be a good idea to share these with your harassment lawyer, too.
If you recorded yourself asking your harasser to stop, then don’t forget to give this recording to your attorney when asking about legal claims you can make. Showing that you asked the harasser to stop shows you’re uncomfortable with their behavior. Any reasonable person should have stopped when asked to.
Evidence of Physical Harassment
If there are security cameras around your workplace, then you may be able to use the footage from these as evidence. The footage may show you experiencing physical harassment. If you experienced a physical assault that led to injuries, then share photographs of your injuries if possible.
If you experienced sexual assault and had to seek medical attention afterward, then your experienced attorney may use your medical records to help serve as evidence in your case.
Communication with Loved Ones
Many people share details of their lives with loved ones. You may have given your loved ones details of the harassment you’ve been experiencing. Evidence of text messages or emails where you shared details of your harassment may help your case.
Witnesses and Other Victims at Your School or Job
If other students or employees witnessed you being harassed at school or on the job, then they may be able to come forward as witnesses.
If your harasser has harassed other people, then those students or employees may also come forward to provide evidence in your case. Others who have official complaints about your harasser’s verbal harassment or unwanted sexual contact may also be able to give statements to help your case.
How Can a Sexual Harassment Attorney Help Me?
Give Legal Advice
If you’re not sure what you can do legally after being sexually harassed or experiencing sexual assault, then your lawyer for sexual harassment should be able to help you. They should understand state and federal law well.
Experienced employment lawyers should be able to answer questions, look into different aspects of the law and interpret them for you, and more. How the law applies to each individual case may vary, and it takes a legal professional to understand the nuances of the law and your case.
Gather Case Information
Your attorney for harassment should be able to help you gather information and evidence relevant to your case. If they need more evidence to support your case, then they should be able to tell you what type of evidence they need so you can attempt to get it. They may also attempt to procure the evidence if you can’t.
With the right evidence, your attorney for harassment may be able to build you a solid case that shows you were sexually harassed on the job or at school.
Represent You in Negotiations or Court
As a victim of sexual harassment, you may be entitled to compensation, such as the reinstatement of your employment, financial compensation, and more, depending on your case. Your harasser being fired or expelled is another example of something that can happen if you win your case.
Your attorney may be able to win your case using the evidence they’ve gathered. They should be able to negotiate with the insurance company that’s paying out financial compensation, deal with the other side’s attorney, and represent you in court if needed.
Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC if you reported sexual harassment at work or school and nothing was done. Your sexual harassment lawyer should have the appropriate advice to help you deal with your situation. If you have a case, then your attorney may be able to help you gather evidence and build a winning case.