Sexual Harassment

Premier Litigators represents victims of workplace sexual harassment. Due to the significant experience and successful track record of our employment attorneys, we are retained by all types of individuals wo are subject to sexual harassement, including entry and mid level employees, senior level management, executives, and high-profile individuals.

A sexual harassment claim is a serious matter. A lawsuit for sexual harassment against an employer can typically be asserted under federal law and applicable state laws. Under federal law, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited in the workplace by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for complaining about sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is sometimes referred to as a hostile work environment, sex discrimination, workplace harassment, abusive work environment, or toxic work environment. It is not only unlawful for a supervisor or business owner, themselves, to sexually harass an employee, but an employer can also be liable for co-workers or even third parties (such as customers or contractors) who sexually harass an employee.

Victims of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment have recourse. Contact us for a free consultation at 1-877-858-6868 or coordinator@premierlitigators.com.

Below is information about Premier Litigator’s credentials, examples of our experience, and Frequently Asked Questions concerning sexual harassment.

WHY HIRE PREMIER LITIGATORS

Victims of sexual harassment should hire an attorney that specializes in workplace sexual harassment claims. Many of the attorneys at Premier Litigators not only specialize in these claims, but they are also leaders in the field. For example:

  • Some of our attorneys publish articles and educational materials on matters of workplace sexual harassment and regularly provide training seminars to other professionals on the subject, including training HR, business owners, and even other attorneys.
  • The attorneys at Premier Litigators are award winning. Most have an “AV” rating by Martindale Hubbel (a peer-reviewed rating), honored by Super Lawyers (a peer-reviewed rating), and achieved “Best Lawyers” status by Best Lawyers (a peer-reviewed rating).
  • Our attorneys have real and substantial experience. Collectively, our attorneys have represented hundreds of plaintiff-side clients with discrimination or sexual harassment claims. Our Chief Trial Counsel, Warren Astbury has conducted over 40 trials. All our other attorneys also have significant trial and/or arbitration experience. In fact, we are regularly referred clients for employment law matters by other attorneys.

We do not rest on our credentials. Our attorneys engage in educational panels aimed a staying abreast of employment law legal developments (including those on sexual harassment) and cutting-edge practices on monthly basis. In short, Premier Litigators consists of highly skilled employment law attorneys who have dedicated their career to helping clients navigate challenging workplace problems.

WHAT WE HANDLE

Premier Litigators represents clients in employment law matters, focusing on representation of plaintiffs. That includes representing clients with workplace sexual harassment claims. Workplace sexual harassment is a form is sex-based discrimination.

To file a claim of sexual harassment in court a plaintiff must first file a complaint (called a “charge of discrimination”)with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and complete the EEOC process. We strongly recommend that potential clients contact us before filing an EEOC complaint so that we can ensure the EEOC complaint contains the appropriate information and is best positioned.

In addition to workplace sexual harassment, our employment law practice also includes, among others:

Examples of Cases We've Handled

Here are just a few examples of cases we’ve handled for clients:

  • Successfully obtained a mid-six-figure settlement in a single-plaintiff sexual harassment and retaliation case where the female employee was shown graphic pictures by a male co-worker and was forced to resign by her employer after she complained to management.
  • Successfully obtained a mid-six-figure settlement in a single-plaintiff race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against an employer where the employer forced the employee to resign after he complained about race discrimination.
  • Successfully obtained a six-figure settlement in single-plaintiff race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case in involving an employee who was forced to resign after he reported seeing a noose to his employer.
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict on behalf of a national hospital management company following a two-day jury trial in a case where a former employee alleged unlawful termination under the Family and Medical Leave Act  (FMLA).
  • Successfully obtained a mid-six-figure settlement in single-plaintiff disability discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case against a hospital where an employee was terminated because she missed too many days while receiving cancer treatment.
  • Successfully resolved unlawful retaliation claims on behalf of recruiter in trucking industry, obtaining a several hundred thousand settlement for damages and fees.
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in federal court through motion for summary judgment and oral argument on behalf of a hospital in a case where a former employee alleged unlawful retaliation under the FMLA.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workplace sexual harassment is a form of discrimination unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Meritor Sav. Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986).

To establish a claim for sexual harassment, a plaintiff must establish: (i) that the harassment occurred because of his or her sex; and (ii) that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of his or her employment and create an abuse working environment.

Harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, when it is “so offensive as to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment”. Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 81 (1998).

That standard is obviously very vague. In applying that standard, the federal appeals courts have provided several factors to consider. While these factors may vary slightly among courts, most consider the following four factors:

  1. The frequency of the conduct.
  2. The severity of the conduct.
  3. Whether the conduct is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance.
  4. Whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with the employee’s job performance.

A few applications of these factors are helpful. For example, courts generally agree that a single kiss on the lips by a boss can be sufficient to establish a sexual harassment claim. On one hand, a single kiss is an isolated incident.  On the other hand, courts typically acknowledge that there are few actions more severe or offensive than an unwanted kiss by a supervisor.

It should be noted that any unwanted touching that is sexual in nature by a supervisor is not only a possible sexual harassment claim, but also may constitute an unlawful sexual assault.

As another example, courts generally hold that a small handful of sexual related comments, even if the comments are directed towards the employee, are generally not sufficient to establish a sexual harassment claim.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of actions that are unacceptable in the workplace and could constitute unlawful sexual harassment under certain circumstances:

  • Unprompted comments or questions that are sexual in nature
  • Unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature (e.g., kisses, hugs, butt or genital touching, rape)
  • Pressing parts of one’s body against another in any sexual way
  • Sex jokes
  • Repeatedly asking someone else
  • Asking for sexual favors
  • Repeatedly asking someone out on a date
  • Surprise dates under the pretense of a “work meeting”
  • Suggestive text messages or emails
  • Inappropriate communications after work hours
  • Repeated compliments on someone’s looks
  • Unwanted or inappropriate gifts of a romantic nature
If you believe you are subject to workplace sexual harassment, contact us immediately at 1-877-858-6868 or email us at coordinator@premierlitigators.com. For more general information about sexual harassment law, the EEOC provides a free helpful EEOC Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet: www.eeoc.gov

Any form of sexual harassment should not be tolerated. Inform your employer. As appropriate, inform your supervisor(s) and HR, Ideally, any verbal complaints you make should be memorialized by a follow up written complaint.

If the unwanted conduct does not stop, or if the conduct was so bad that you feel an attorney is needed – such as unwanted kissing or any other unwanted contact or extremely offensive conduct that is sexual in nature – contact a Premier Litigators and speak with one of our employment attorneys. Initial consultations are free. Call today at 1-877-858-6868 or email us at coordinator@premierlitigators.com

Yes. A claim for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is not limited to harassment by supervisors or business owners. Employers can also be liable for harassment by non-management, including co-workers and even third parties such as customers and contractors.

The legal test for whether a company can be liable for sexual harassment by someone who is not in management is two-prong:

  • First, did the company know or the company should have known about the unwanted sexual harassment?
  • Second, if so, then did the employer take immediate and appropriate corrective action?

 

Simply put, an employer has a legal obligation to stop workplace sexual harassment that it knows about or should have known about.

The law is clear that an individual can sue their employer for sexual harassment even if the individual quit their job. That is because the law recognizes a concept known as constructive discharge.

To establish constructive discharge, an individual must demonstrate that the working conditions were so unacceptable that a reasonable person would feel compelled to resign.

The law requires that individuals who want to file a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for unlawful sexual harassment must first file with the EEOC a complaint (known as a “Charge of Discrimination”) and complete the EEOC review process. We strongly recommend that individuals hire an employment attorney in connection with the EEOC process to ensure all the appropriate information is provided and appropriate claims asserted.

Depending on the circumstances, there is a 180-day or 300-day statute of limitations on filing a complaint with the EEOC; this means you have 180 days or 300 days from the date harassment occurred to file a claim with the EEOC

After a complaint is filed with the EEOC, the EEOC notifies the employer and provides the employer 10 days to respond. This is a good opportunity to learn the employer’s formal position to allegations of sexual harassment.

More information about the EEOC process can be found here: What You Can Expect After a Charge is Filed | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov)

Once an EEOC investigator has completed the investigation, they will make a finding on the merits of the sexual harassment claim. One of two results are possible:

  • If EEOC will state they are unable to conclude that there is reasonable cause to believe that unlawful sexual harassment occurred, the complaining party will be issued a notice called a Dismissal and Notice of Rights. This notice informs the party that he or she has the right to file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days. The employer will also receive a copy of the notice.
  • If EEOC states there is reasonable cause to believe unlawful sexual harassment occurred, the EEOC will issue a Letter of Determination stating that there is reason to believe that unlawful sexual harassment occurred and inviting the parties to join the EEOC in seeking to resolve the complaint through an informal process known as conciliation.

If a lawsuit is filed, it can often take one to two years to complete the lawsuit process, which may include a trial. Formal mediation also generally happens after a lawsuit is filed, providing the parties another opportunity to resolve the dispute before trial.  Most claims of sexual harassment are resolved before trial. If an employer is not willing, however, to provide fair compensation, then a trial can be the best option.

The employment lawyers at Premier Litigators have substantial experience with the EEOC complaint process and have a track record of successfully resolving sexual harassment lawsuits on behalf of clients.

Contact us today by calling 1-877-858-6868 or emailing us at coordinator@premierlitigators.com

Damages available for workplace sexual harassment claims depend on the circumstances. Generally, the following categories of damages may be recoverable under federal law:

  • Back pay
  • Fringe Benefits that would have been received
  • Out of pocket costs associated with finding new employment
  • Mental anguish
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Cost incurred related to the lawsuit
  • Punitive damages

Premier Litigators has employment law attorneys who are very experienced in representing victims of sexual harassment. For a free consultation, contact us at 1-877-858-6868 or coordinator@premierlitigators.com.

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