Have you been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace? If addressing the issue with your supervisor or your company’s HR department hasn’t resolved the situation, a personal injury lawyer or an employment lawyer can help you determine the best recourse for seeking justice. When many people think about personal injury law, they often don’t think of sexual harassment as falling within that scope of practice.
However, sexual harassment is typically considered a personal injury if the inappropriate conduct occurs at work. Your employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace for you and other employees. If you suffer emotional or physical harm because they failed to do so, you have the right to pursue legal action.
Classifying Sexual Harassment Cases
Sexual harassment in the workplace falls into the category of personal injury law or tort law. In a legal sense, an omission or act that results in harm or injury to another is a tort. Torts are civil wrongs, and victims can seek recompense for their losses. Many instances of sexual harassment that occur in the workplace are eligible for the victim to take civil action against the harasser or the employer.
If the harassment you experienced escalated to sexual abuse or sexual assault, you may want to pursue a criminal case against your harasser. Choosing to seek restitution for your harassment should not impact filing a criminal case, but you will want to seek legal counsel from an experienced lawyer for harassment about your specific situation.
Let an Experienced Attorney For Harassment Handle Your Case
Suppose the sexual harassment you experience isn’t resolved by contacting your company’s HR department or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In that case, you will want to contact an attorney for harassment and find out if filing a personal injury claim is right for your circumstance. Trying to prove a sexual harassment claim on your own will be an uphill battle, and you’ll want legal representation to help you take your employer to task.
Understandably, personal injury cases involving sexual harassment by employers can put many victims under great emotional stress. However, hiring the right lawyer for harassment to handle your claim can help minimize your emotional burden, as your harassment lawyer will serve as a buffer between you and the perpetrator or company and guide you through the process of filing a sexual harassment lawsuit.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
If you are an employee who is currently struggling with determining whether what is happening at your job is sexual harassment or not, it is critical to remember that sexual harassment is not defined by the harasser’s intent but by the impact, the behavior has on the victim.
While infrequent, offhand comments are not usually considered sexual harassment, in specific situations, they may be a minor aspect of a more significant sexual harassment case. If a verbal warning does not stop the person’s inappropriate conduct, then you will need to make a supervisor aware of the harassment.
Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment cases frequently cite the following behaviors as contributing to a work environment where the target employee feels unsafe or unable to perform at their best.
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Sexual comments and innuendo directed at the victim
- Discrimination because of the victim’s sex
- Lower pay because of the victim’s sex
- Unwanted physical contact (which can be sexual assault)
If a victim is subjected to unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, this is considered sexual assault or sexual abuse, depending on the specifics of the incident.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Sexual Harassment Personal Injury Claim?
Damages for harassment cases are determined on an individual basis. Usually, a sexual harassment victim is eligible for all the compensation and damages offered under tort, or personal injury, law.
Sexual harassment lawsuits often result in the victim being given any or all of the following damages. The first option is equitable relief, which helps the victim recover from the wrong committed against them. Next is compensatory damages, which include financial compensation for losses. Or finally, punitive damages may be awarded, designed to punish the company for incredibly offensive behaviors.
Does the Victim Receive Compensation From the Harasser or the Employer?
In most cases, the victim will file a claim to request compensation from the employer. Although the person performing the harassment is truly at fault, employers are responsible for providing their staff with a safe workplace. In incidents of sexual assault and sexual abuse, a criminal case may be brought against the harasser directly.
Who Is Protected From Harassment of a Sexual Nature?
Individuals of all genders have the right to work without being sexually harassed. Missouri and federal law defend employees from sexual assault, abuse, and harassment at work. However, it is worth noting that in Missouri, state law dictates that if the perpetrator harasses individuals of both sexes, it is not considered sexual harassment. But if you report the harassment and are retaliated against, you still have recourse to pursue justice for the adverse employment actions taken toward you.
Even if you are unsure if the behavior you experienced is harassment or assault, you should contact a harassment attorney. A harassment lawyer at a Missouri-based law firm will be familiar with sexual harassment laws and be able to tell you what legal action you can take against the company or perpetrator.
Do I Need Harassment Lawyers to File a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
While you do not have to hire a harassment attorney to file a sexual harassment lawsuit, attempting to bring a lawsuit against your company or the person who harassed you without legal representation is ill-advised. Personal injury law is complex, and presenting a convincing sexual harassment case isn’t something the average person can figure out using Google.
Additionally, rehashing previous instances of harassment and abuse can make you feel vulnerable, which can limit your ability to present your case effectively. You deserve the best possible chance at receiving justice. Reach out to harassment lawyers to ensure you don’t miss out on compensation for the harm you experienced.
When Harassment Starts Young: Bullying in the Classroom
While no parent likes to think that the same harassment issues that plague adults in the workforce can affect their children in the classroom, the truth is that sexual harassment is also an issue at schools. Just as being harassed in the workplace can lead to diminished job performance, harassment in a school setting can damage academic performance and contribute to mental health problems in students.
Harassment attorneys also handle cases of bullying and sexual harassment affecting children. If your child is experiencing harassment at school, you’ll want to discuss the situation with a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can guide you on the best practices to address the problem and if you should file a lawsuit against the school or teachers.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Sexual harassment doesn’t have to cause physical injuries to leave victims suffering the long-term effects of emotional trauma. It isn’t unusual for victims of sexual harassment to be left with lingering issues, such as depression or anxiety, following their harassment.
Ensure you know all the legal options available to you, and seek justice in the way that serves you best. At Holman Schiavone, LLC, we offer the support and guidance you need to hold your employer accountable for the suffering you endured.
Contact our compassionate and experienced team at Holman Schiavone, LLC, today.