Charlotte Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Employees in the modern workplace are meant to be free of not only threats to their health and safety but also to their well-being. Going through the experience of sexual harassment in the workplace can often make you feel powerless, as oftentimes it is a supervisor or manager engaging in such behavior at a job you rely upon to support your family. Discussing your options with an experienced Charlotte sexual harassment lawyer from The Fuller Law Firm, P.C. can help to frame what you can do and whether you may be able to collect damages for your experience.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a damaging practice that can include actions ranging from unwelcome sexual advances to speaking negatively of an individual’s gender at large. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act, and a variety of other laws and legislative efforts provide you a foundation upon which to build a claim. North Carolina law is also strongly against sexual harassment in government agencies and workplaces across the state.
The EEOC Protects Workers Across the United States from Sexual Harassment
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) helps protect workers in the United States from a variety of forms of harassment and discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. It is clarified by the EEOC that it is “unlawful to harass a person (or applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.”
Sexual harassment as defined by the EEOC can include:
- Unwelcome sexual advances often termed “sexual harassment”
- Verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
- Requests or demands for sexual favors
It is worth noting that sexual harassment does not necessarily have to be explicitly sexual. The definition of sexual harassment also includes remarks about the sex of an individual. This means that it is illegal to harass a person by making offensive comments about their gender in general. What constitutes sexual harassment can be difficult to determine in some situations, as it can be more about how certain comments and the physical and social behaviors that surround them make an individual feel more so than the contents of the comments themselves. Determining when sexual harassment has occurred is best addressed with a Charlotte sexual harassment lawyer at The Fuller Law Firm.
All Genders Can Be Victims and Perpetuate, Sexual Harassment
A person of any gender is capable of sexually harassing any other individual, regardless of their gender. Persons of the same gender can sexually harass one another, with the EEOC noting that being of the same gender does not insulate an individual from charges of sexual harassment from the victim.
When Do Comments and Teasing Turn Into Illegal Harassment?
In its explanation of sexual harassment, the EEOC states plainly “the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious”. If teasing, non-serious incidents, and offhand comments are allowed, when do they turn into harassment?
The EEOC defines harassment as illegal “when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”
Harassment is illegal when:
- It is so frequent or severe that –
- It causes a hostile or offensive workplace environment
- Or leads to being fired, demoted, or otherwise experiencing a negative workplace decision
While this definition is helpful, it also leaves quite a bit of room for interpretation. You might ask yourself the following questions:
- How often must harassment be experienced for it to be considered “frequent” or “severe”?
- If individuals have different opinions on what is offensive and what is not, how can the offensiveness of a statement be proven?
- How do I prove that an adverse employment decision was based on sexual harassment?
These are important questions to ask, and oftentimes if you are experiencing sexual harassment from someone higher up in your employing company, it can be difficult to do so yourself. Reaching out to a Charlotte sexual harassment lawyer at The Fuller Law Firm will help identify when legally actionable harassment is occurring and what your remedies might be to make it stop and recover any damages to which you might be entitled.
“Quid Pro Quo” Harassment Creates a Hostile Workplace Environment
“Quid pro quo” harassment consists of requests by supervisors or even co-workers for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, or other physical or verbal conduct when:
- Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of the employee’s employment, whether this is done explicitly or implicitly (meaning the condition was spoken aloud or it was assumed to be understood without being said out loud); or
- The rejection of, or submission to, the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions that impact the employee
When you are faced with such unlawful propositions, whether physical, verbal, sexual, or otherwise, or facing a negative consequence at work, you have experienced “quid pro quo” harassment. This is a form of workplace harassment that must be stopped.
The power dynamic between employer and employee might negatively impact employees’ willingness and ability to come forward with these issues. Resistance to reporting workplace harassment is often linked to a fear of retaliation, which can also contribute to a hostile work environment.
Your Charlotte Sexual Harassment Lawyer Helps Determine If Legally Actionable Harassment Has Occurred
If you think that what you have experienced in the workplace constitutes sexual harassment, it can be helpful to speak with a Charlotte sexual harassment lawyer. You might not know how the federal and state laws concerning sexual harassment apply to your case, and if you are uncomfortable but don’t think you have been harassed, it can still be helpful to talk to one of our attorneys as you might be overlooking or excusing more than you should. The power dynamic between employers and supervisors and employees who rely on the income from their job can shift perspectives, so getting a second opinion can be helpful.
The Source of Harassment May Be Inside or Outside Your Employer
You can be the victim of sexual harassment from a harasser within or without your company, including:
- Your direct supervisor or another supervisor in the organization
- A coworker
- A third party who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer
It is not necessary that someone within your company be the source of the sexual harassment, only that you experience the harassment during the scope of your employment. A common example of third-party sexual harassment that you might have seen depicted on television is when a customer at a restaurant inappropriately gropes a member of the service staff. Such behavior is sexual harassment, and while the employer was not directly involved, they may still be liable for the related damages in part or whole depending upon the circumstances. Questions about whether or not an action qualifies as sexual harassment are best addressed with a Charlotte sexual harassment lawyer at The Fuller Law Firm.
Connect with a Charlotte Sexual Harassment Lawyer from The Fuller Law Firm, P.C.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, you have rights supported by both state and federal laws. You do not have to put up with inappropriate behavior, comments, threats, or negative work actions. You have a right to report the behavior and oftentimes, a right to damages. If you have reported sexual harassment and nothing was done, or if your employer retaliated against you by decreasing workplace opportunities or by creating a hostile or toxic work environment for you, you have a right to make a claim and should speak with a Charlotte sexual harassment lawyer at our firm.
Navigating the process of filing, negotiating, and collecting on your sexual harassment claim can be difficult and time-consuming, and working with a legal advocate who knows how to win on your case will support you throughout the entire process. To learn how we can help on your case, give us a call at (704) 659-5600, or visit our site to schedule a consultation.