Personal Injury: Sexual Harassment at Work
Sexual harassment is defined as any form of unwelcome sexual acts or comments. Not only can it cause victims emotional stress, but it is also against the law.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is unlawful to harass an employee or employer regarding their sex. It is also illegal to request sexual favors or make comments of a sexual nature. The victim could be a man or a woman as can be the harasser. What makes harassment different from light-hearted teasing is that is occurs consistently and is offensive to the victim. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 classifies sexual harassment as a type of employee discrimination. Any company or government agency with fifteen or more employees is responsible for enforcing this law as well as preventing discrimination from happening in the workplace.
An example of a sexual harassment case regards teenager L.C. In 2007, the fifteen-year-old was working part time at a local fast food restaurant. She now says that her employer, D.V., took advantage of her naivety and young age. She stated that he would grab her bottom and make sexual comments to her. This went on for months but she was too scared to tell anyone about what was going on. She had to undergo lengthy counseling for anxiety and post-traumatic stress. L.C., now nineteen years old, was awarded $12,000 in compensation as the court ruled the behavior to be sexual harassment. She said that it was not about the money, but so her employer would see that what he did was wrong.
This is just one example of the treatment that employees can be subjected to while at work, either by a co-worker, a client, or their employer. The effects of sexual harassment are more widespread than purely emotional trauma. It can affect the worker’s job performance or even lead to the loss of their career. If they choose to pursue a lawsuit against the harasser, they could be faced with even more negative effects. Their private life could suddenly become public and they may become the subject of gossip and scrutiny. Other long-term effects include: depression, anxiety, nightmares, shame, and in some cases, suicide.
Companies and employers are responsible for ensuring that sexual harassment and other forms of employee discrimination is not a part of their workplace. Not only that, but they are also responsible for doing everything in their power to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you or a loved one were the victim of sexual harassment, you should do everything possible to defend yourself. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you could receive the help you need to receive justice.