Sexual harassment occurs when a person is on the receiving end of inappropriate sexual comments, gestures or advances. This kind of behavior can create a hostile and uncomfortable environment for those involved. Unfortunately, sexual harassment happens in many places on a daily basis. Between private households, schools, churches and the workplace, sexual harassment is not only prohibited by federal law, but it is morally wrong and causes a great deal of fear and anxiety in victims who are placed in a hostile environment where they do not feel safe and secure. Whether you are a victim or an intervening bystander, call the veteran lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm for quality legal representation in any sexual harassment case.What is considered to be sexual harassment?
The state of Florida defines sexual harassment in a number of ways. Any kind of speech or behavior that may cause an uncomfortable or hostile environment can be interpreted as sexual harassment by the victim and the court. For certain behavior to be deemed as sexual harassment, the speech or behavior need not be related to any sex acts at all, but merely anything about a person’s gender that causes them to be singled out or offended can be considered to be sexual harassment. Common examples include:
- Crude or inappropriate jokes
- Derogatory remarks about a person’s sex in general
- Memos or emails of a sexual or explicit nature
- Inappropriate and unwanted physical contact
- Unsolicited sexual advances
- Verbal or physical abuse
There are two main kinds of sexual harassment as defined by the State. The first is called Quid Pro Qou harassment. The phrase, translated from Latin, means “something for something.” This describes a scenario in which involves trading sexual favors for benefits at work, such as a promotion, a raise, continued employment, or other employment benefits. On the flip side, employers or supervisors can take adverse action such as a salary reduction against the employee in the event that they refuse to partake in sexual activity for work benefits. These kinds of situations are scary and dangerous for employees. This is basically forced prostitution, as employers who are guilty of creating Quid Pro Qou situations place victims in a position in which they have to choose between giving or receiving sexual favors or facing consequences at work such as a salary reduction or potentially losing their job.
The second kind of sexual harassment in the workplace is called a Hostile Work Environment. Employers are ultimately responsible for creating and maintaining a work environment that is free from sexual harassment and safe for everybody to work in. Federal laws guarantee this and hold a company’s boss responsible for not tolerating sexual harassment in their workplace. While an occasional politically incorrect joke or lewd comment may not rise to the level of Hostile Work Environment Harassment, the repeated use of offensive jokes or language can create such an environment in which the victim does not feel safe in their own work environment. Many companies have their own investigatory procedures and responsible correctional parties through which victims will report their claims and have an HR department handle it, however sometimes that is not enough. Victims who are not satisfied with the measures a company has taken to prevent and discourage sexual harassment in the workplace can file a lawsuit against the company to recover damages incurred at the time in question, such as:
- Lost wages: Any wages the victim can claim to have lost as a result of sexual harassment can be recovered in court.
- Medical expenses: Victims can recover any medical expenses related to the harassment, such as psychiatric counseling.
- Pain and suffering: Victims are entitled to collect damages for any pain and suffering that resulted from the harassment.
- Loss of consortium: If the harassment had any impact on the victim’s marital relationship (ex: victim’s partner suspected an affair rather than harassment and divorced the victim as a result) then the victim can collect damages that would be deemed equitable to what was lost in their relationship.
- Punitive damages: If the harasser’s behavior was extraordinarily egregious, then the defense might seek punitive damages as a way to punish the wrongdoer and discourage the continuance of this behavior.
- Reinstatement: If a victim’s employment was terminated or downgraded as a result of refusal to engage in sexual activity with a supervisor or employer, then a judge can order that the company reinstate the victim to their original position.
When supervisors threaten to impede a victim’s propensity to earn a living, speaking out against sexual harassment in the workplace can be very difficult. The worst mistake a victim can make is remaining silent and continuing to be made to feel unsafe at work. Call the aggressive and experienced attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm today if you feel as though you are being sexually harassed at work. Our unique methods and exemplary track record speak for themselves. The law is on your side, and our attorneys will fight vehemently on your behalf to ensure that justice is served to those who sexually threaten or harass you.
If you or a loved one were recently involved in any kind of sexual harassment, call The Ansara Law Firm at (954) 761-4011 immediately to seek compensation for any damages incurred as a result.