Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, but it is still common. It can happen to women and men. It can take many forms, such as offensive comments, unwanted questions or conversations about sex, sexually explicit jokes and stories, inappropriate touching, or requests or pressure to have sex. In the digital age, a sexual harasser may use a computer or cell phone to harass his or her victim with calls, emails, text messages, and photographs. All types of sexual harassment are serious, and each Austin sexual harassment attorney at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers takes it seriously and acts aggressively against it.
What Qualifies as Sexual Harassment?
The federal law that prohibits sexual harassment, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, applies to employers that have 15 or more employees. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination that explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment comes in many forms. It doesn’t have to be physical touching. In fact, it encompasses any type of unwelcome sexual advance, including:
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwanted verbal contact of a sexual nature
- Sexist and sex-discriminatory comments
- Unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature
- Sexual comments meant to offend the victim
When unwelcome conduct crosses the line from merely annoying or an isolated incident to something severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile, or offensive, it’s a good idea to reach out to a qualified Austin employment lawyer experienced in sexual harassment cases for advice and help.
The most common scenario is that a man sexually harasses a woman, but women can also be harassers, and the victim can be of the same or opposite sex. A harasser may be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, an agent of the employer, or a non-employee. Anyone affected by the offensive conduct may be eligible to make a claim, even if he or she is not a direct victim of sexual harassment.
When you need someone to stand up for your rights, trust Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers to deliver strong and competent legal representation.
Who Is Responsible for Stopping Sexual Harassment?
When a victim faces sexual harassment at work from a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as wrongful termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages, the employer is automatically liable for the losses. If sexual harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability if it can prove that it took reasonable action to prevent and correct the harassing behavior, and that the victim unreasonably failed to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.
An employer can be liable for harassment by co-workers or non-employees over whom it has control, such as independent contractors or customers on the premises, if it knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action. Reach out to a local Austin sexual harassment attorney to learn more about the specifics regarding your case and who can be held responsible.
What Should I Do If I’m Being Sexually Harassed in Texas?
If you are being sexually harassed at work, keep a log of the harassment. Keep all text messages, emails, or anything that the harasser does in writing. Look at your employer’s procedures to see what methods are available to report the harassment. Then call us to discuss the situation with a compassionate attorney. You have the right to a workplace free from sexual harassment and it is a good idea to arm yourself with counsel from a capable sexual harassment lawyer before taking action on your own.
An employee who is being sexually harassed generally has a responsibility to inform the employer so that the employer has the opportunity to stop the harassment. Many victims are worried that if they complain, they will be fired or experience other retaliation. A skilled employment lawyer can help you make a complaint in a way that keeps the employer from denying it received the claim and may be able to lessen the likelihood of retaliation.
Consult a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Austin, TX
Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers can help you if you’ve been victimized at work. We understand sexual harassment laws and provide experienced legal counsel. When you make a sexual harassment claim and win, you may obtain compensation for economic harms, such as past and future lost wages and for emotional pain and suffering. The attorneys at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers will work with you one-on-one throughout your claim and do everything in our power to get justice for you.
If you’re the victim of sexual harassment, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Contact Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers to speak with a caring representative about your sexual harassment situation. We offer a phone evaluation of your potential claim. All you have to do is call.