Do I have a case?
Knowing what constitutes sexual harassment and realizing when you have a case are the first steps. You don’t have to make this determination alone. An experienced employment law attorney can help you understand the nuances that aren’t readily apparent in the law.
Sexual harassment and sexual discrimination are unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other sexual activity (verbal or physical) that:
- Acceptance or denial of such behavior determines the victim’s career, education, living situation, or community participation.
- The behavior is presented as a requirement for work, education, living conditions, or community involvement.
- The behavior disproportionately impacts the individual’s performance or produces a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is prohibited to harass or discriminate against another individual (employee or candidate) because of their gender, including physical and verbal harassment.
However, the harassment does not have to be sexual; it can include insulting remarks about a person’s sex, such as harassing a woman with derogatory remarks about women in general. Victims and harassers might be either men or women and can be of the same gender. In addition, victims and harassers can be supervisors, subordinates, colleagues, customers, or clients.
Teasing and casual remarks are no longer automatically unlawful. However, when the statements or behavior is pervasive or severe enough to produce a hostile or offensive environment that adversely affects the victim, or when it results in a bad outcome for the victim, such as firing or demotion, it is harassment or discrimination. It’s also possible that the setting is hostile enough that the victim feels unhappy at work, producing emotional stress and an inability to operate normally.
Here’s what we will have to prove
In a civil action, you are trying to establish that your harasser caused you demonstrable harm for which you are entitled to compensation. The standard of proof is different than in criminal cases—you do not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your harasser is guilty, but rather that a preponderance of the evidence shows that your harasser inflicted damages (mental, emotional, physical, or monetary) on you.
As a result, a sexual harassment lawyer will search for information that can demonstrate that your case fulfills the legal criteria for sexual harassment or discrimination—as well as material that opposing counsel may use against you.
There was no notice to the employer
Notifying your employer as soon as possible if you are being sexually harassed is critical. If you leave your job before informing your boss about the harassment, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to file a sexual harassment lawsuit. Furthermore, speaking up about the harassment may encourage other employees who have been harassed to come forward.
Consensual prior relationship with the harasser
A typical defense to sexual harassment accusations is that the sexual nature of the action was approved or consented to by the targeted employee. If the parties had a past relationship, the defense is more difficult to overcome. However, regardless of her love history, every employee has the right to work without prejudice. A harasser cannot use a previous relationship as a justification to make unwanted or uninvited sexual approaches, which are prohibited.
Contact Our Employment Law Attorneys Today
The Crone Law Firm is passionate about helping victims of sexual harassment stop unwanted behavior and recover damages for the injuries sustained. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, contact us for the advice and guidance you need. Call us at 901-737-7740 to see how we can help. We serve Memphis, TN; St. Louis, MO; and surrounding areas (including Germantown, TN, Collierville, TN, and Clayton, MO).