Title VII prevents taking tangible employment actions or creating hostile work environments because of an employee’s gender. In the sexual harassment context that boils down to two different situations: 1) you have been told that you cannot be promoted, paid better, or remain employed unless you engage in some sort of sexual contact with a supervisor and/or 2) you have been subjected to severe or pervasive harassment by way of crude, sexually charged language and/or sexual touchings. Although most of the sexual harassment claims are asserted by women, Title VII does not limit its protection to women as men can be victimized by sexual harassment as well. No matter your gender, it is a violation of federal law to subject employees to this type of treatment. If you successfully prove a Title VII sexual harassment claim, you are entitled to lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages (which are capped at varying levels depending on the number of employees), and attorneys’ fees.
State tort law may also protect employees from sexual harassment gender discrimination in the work place. For example, traditional torts of assault and battery afford relief to a victimized employee. Other torts like negligent hiring/supervision are methods to create employer liability when the employer knew or should have known of the offender’s tendencies to sexually harass co-workers or subordinates.
If you are employed by a state, local, or the federal government, you have also have an Equal Protection claim that would afford you the same remedies as Title VII. Unlike Title VII, the Equal Protection claim compensatory and punitive damages are not capped if awarded.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, please call (470) 823-4000.
Every federal statute that prohibits discrimination in the workplace has an anti-retaliation provision. As such, it is unlawful for an employee to be retaliated against for opposing perceived discrimination or participating in an EEOC investigation regarding such discrimination. In other words, if you believe you were discriminated against and you complained to your supervisor about such discrimination and then the employer took an adverse employment action against you because of that report, that retaliatory act is unlawful. The same is true for co-workers who report discrimination or otherwise provide information regarding discrimination on behalf of a fellow employee. If you successfully demonstrate that your employer unlawfully retaliated against you, you are entitled to lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages (that may be capped depending on the number of employees), and attorneys’ fees.