No one should feel uncomfortable going to work out of fear of sexual harassment. In fact, federal and state laws require employers to provide a harassment-free working environment. If someone at your work is making unwanted sexual advances or comments, you need a workplace harassment lawyer in Charlotte, NC. At EMP Law, our Charlotte sexual harassment attorneys fight to protect your rights and hold the at-fault party accountable.
What Is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment is a type of gender discrimination and occurs in many different forms. Under federal and state law, sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal. Both men and women can experience sexual harassment or be the harasser. This unlawful conduct is not just limited to people you work with. Customers or clients can sexually harass you in the workplace as well.
There are two main categories of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo (which means “this for that”) harassment occurs when a person with power abuses their authority and requests sexual favors in exchange for something. It can involve either a promise of an employment benefit or threat of negative action against an employee. A typical scenario consists of a supervisor pressuring or coercing a subordinate employee to engage in sexual acts in exchange for continued employment, promotions, raises, or other benefits.
Hostile Work Environment
When sexual comments or acts occur on a continual and intentional basis, it can create a hostile work environment.
- Making offensive jokes or comments that are sexual in nature;
- Sharing sexual images;
- Unwanted and inappropriate physical contact (e.g., hugging, kissing, massaging, etc.); and
- Asking questions about a person’s sexual preferences, orientation, or history.
Keep in mind, even if you were not the intended audience for a sexual joke or comment, you can still be the victim.
How Does the Law Protect Employees from Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sadly, many incidences of sexual harassment go unreported out of fear of retaliation by a person’s employer. No one wants to jeopardize their reputation or growth at work. However, sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal under federal and North Carolina state law.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, and North Carolina’s Equal Employment Practices Act is the applicable state law. Current employees and job applicants are protected, and both laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for handling sexual harassment claims against employers.
What Should You Do If You’re the Victim of Sexual Harassment?
There are several options for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Follow Internal Procedures
Review your company handbook, company policies, or employment agreement and look for any required internal protocols to follow in the event of suspected sexual harassment. Consider expressing your concern, in writing, with a supervisor and your human resources department. In sexual harassment cases, it is important to document communication or correspondence with your employer regarding the harassment.
File a Charge with a Government Agency
You can file a charge against your employer through a federal or state agency. The EEOC is generally responsible for handling these types of claims. There are strict deadlines to meet when filing a charge, so it’s imperative that you speak with a Charlotte sexual harassment attorney to help you prepare your claim.
Sue Your Employer
You can file a lawsuit against your employer for gender discrimination on the basis of sexual harassment. One of our Charlotte sexual harassment lawyers can help you prepare your case.
How Can a Workplace Harassment Lawyer in Charlotte Help?
Not everyone knows what rights they have under the law. That’s where a Charlotte sexual harassment attorney can help. They can evaluate the incident or occurrences and determine if you have grounds to pursue a sexual harassment claim, and/or help you protect yourself from further harassment or retaliation.
From there, your attorney can craft an argument in your favor and decide what remedies are available to you. Proving this type of claim isn’t easy, so we encourage you to contact an experienced sexual harassment attorney in Charlotte, NC, from EMP Law.
Contact a Charlotte Sexual Harassment Lawyer from EMP Law
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you do not have to stay silent. Let our Charlotte sexual harassment lawyers help you stand up for your rights. We have an excellent track record and are here to assist you.
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