Sexual Harassment Lawyers in Charlotte, Helping Victims Reclaim Their Dignity and Seek Justice
Going to work is supposed to be a straightforward activity. You head into the office, put in a day’s worth of work, perhaps have some discussions among co-workers, and go home for the day. Unfortunately, sexual harassment has made this a difficult endeavor for countless Americans. Statistics show that about one out of every five U.S. workers has endured some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. Even worse, a full 75% of these cases go unreported. Both North Carolina and federal law are meant to protect against such acts, but if you’ve still been victimized, a sexual harassment lawyer in Charlotte may be able to help.
At Harman Law, we’ve spent years helping our clients seek justice for violations of employment law in America. It’s imperative that you report sexual harassment when it occurs, but it’s understandable that this may not always be possible or easy. Perhaps the behavior is coming from a superior, or maybe such actions are widely accepted as part of the company culture. It’s even conceivable that you did report this form of abuse and suffered repercussions for doing so. If you’ve found yourself in any of these situations, confidential consultation at Harman Law can help you better understand your rights and how to move forward.
What Is Sexual Harassment at Work?
Sexual harassment is any type of behavior that makes a person feel uncomfortable related to their sex. There’s a lot of confusion over this definition — even among sexual harassment victims themselves. That’s because it’s a broad term that can include anything from requesting sexual favors to picking on someone for their sexual orientation. Essentially, sexual harassment includes requests for sexual favors, unwanted sexual advances, and any other type of verbal or physical conduct that has a sexual undertone.
These behaviors can affect a person’s employment status (implicitly or explicitly), interfere with their performance, or create a hostile, offensive, or intimidating environment to work in. This definition is adopted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you have faced acts that are considered sexual harassment on the job, you have the right to seek compensation for what you’ve been through. The first step is reporting what you’ve experienced to a superior. If this has been unproductive or it’s a superior who is acting inappropriately, however, it’s time to reach out to a Charlotte sexual harassment attorney for help.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
When a person has been sexually harassed, they often don’t know what to do next. In many cases, this is due to the sometimes vague definition of the term. After all, it would seem that many behaviors — including those that don’t involve sexual attraction — fall under this umbrella. That is very true. There are also instances where offensive behavior may not constitute sexual harassment under current statutes. Our law firm understands how confusing this can sometimes be, so we’ve crafted the following list of common behaviors that are typically illegal. These behaviors include:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Repeatedly hitting on someone after being asked to stop
- Any verbal or physical conduct that’s sexual in nature
- Pressuring someone for sexual activities to keep their job
- Inappropriate touching
- Repeatedly telling or sharing inappropriate jokes
- Exposing individuals to pornography against their will
- Inappropriate comments of a sexual nature
- Holding employment functions at improper locations (e.g., strip clubs)
- Asking inappropriate questions about someone’s sex or dating life
- Threatening retaliation for reporting or complaining about sexual harassment
- Stalking behavior such as unwanted calling or texting
All of these behaviors are inappropriate and can lead to a sexual harassment case. The important thing to remember is that an offensive work environment does not always constitute sexual harassment. For instance, persistent negative comments about a person’s religion or disability can create a hostile work environment without being sexual harassment. Of course, these actions are still illegal thanks to the Civil Rights Act and other federal laws. There are also offensive acts that may violate no laws at all.
Obviously, it might be difficult to figure out whether what you’re facing is enough to satisfy the requirements of valid sexual harassment claims. This is why it’s ideal to speak with a sexual harassment lawyer in Charlotte today.
Are There Different Types of Sexual Harassment?
There are a variety of behaviors that could fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment. In many instances, it comes down to how actions may be perceived. However, all such acts essentially fall into two distinct categories: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. While these are very different types of behavior, they both have the potential to make victims uncomfortable and take away their dignity. Here’s what you should know about each:
Quid Pro Quo
Requests for sexual favors or to engage in acts of a sexual nature in order to keep a job or garner a promotion are known as “quid pro quo.” This essentially means doing something in exchange for something else. Such instances can make reporting sexual harassment particularly scary — because the acts are typically undertaken by those who have power within the company. Whether you turned down such advances or were victimized by a superior, it’s important to speak with a sexual harassment attorney in Charlotte.
Hostile Work Environment
While it may not involve any physical conduct, a hostile work environment can be just as damaging as quid pro quo. Hostile work environments exist when managers, supervisors, or co-workers engage in behaviors that can negatively impact an individual’s ability to do their job. For instance, inappropriate jokes based on a person’s sex would fall into this category. This is also true for viewing pornographic images while on the job, making unwelcome sexual advances, or even staring inappropriately at a co-worker. Each of these actions — and many others — creates a hostile work environment.
Contact a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Charlotte Today
Everyone has a right to go to work without fear of harassment. Unfortunately, statistics show that many people are not granted this basic right. If you’re facing sexual harassment in the workplace, you may be unsure of what to do. Perhaps you’re worried that reporting will negatively affect your job, or maybe you simply don’t want to “rock the boat” at your company. Unfortunately, it’s the fact that this behavior is often allowed to go unpunished that makes it so pervasive. You don’t have to deal with workplace harassment or a hostile work environment. With the help of Charlotte sexual harassment attorneys, it’s possible to protect your rights.
At Harman Law, we’ve seen too many sexual harassment cases. You would think that — in this day and age — people would know better. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Unwanted advances of a sexual nature and inappropriate comments are seen as the norm in countless offices around the nation. No matter how normalized such behavior has become in your place of employment, though, you do not have to put up with such a problematic environment. Contact us today by calling (704) 286-0947 to schedule a confidential consultation. Our sexual harassment lawyers in Charlotte will work hard to get justice on your behalf.