Atlanta Sexual Harassment Attorney
For as long as women have been in the workforce, they have been forced to suffer sexual harassment at the hands of their male superiors and co-workers, and even customers, clients, and third parties like vendors and suppliers. Sexual harassment has been recognized in the courts as a form of unlawful sex discrimination since the 1970s, but it hasn’t gone away. The #MeToo movement that started in 2018 has shined a spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, yet between 2018 and 2021 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) still received nearly 30,000 charges alleging sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Victims of harassment can bring Title VII claims and recover compensation for the harm they suffered, including financial losses, emotional harm, and punitive damages in appropriate cases. The Forsythe Law Firm can help. Contact our experienced Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer today.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is the “classic” form that sexual harassment takes. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor propositions a subordinate for sexual favors or a romantic or dating relationship and conditions employment or job benefits on the subordinate complying with the demand. The superior might promise favorable treatment such as raises, promotions or plum assignments for agreeing, or threaten adverse treatment such as unfavorable assignments, negative reviews, or termination for refusing. In nearly every instance of quid pro quo sexual harassment, it’s not just the harasser but also the company itself that can be held liable for the economic and emotional harm inflicted by the harassment.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
A hostile work environment is created when an employee is subjected to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of the work environment and makes the workplace a hostile or intimidating place to be. A hostile environment can be created by inappropriate touching, offensive comments, gestures, dirty jokes, graffiti, displays of pornography on computers or in break rooms, and by other similar means. It is not only supervisors but also co-workers, customers or other third parties who can create a hostile work environment. Companies are liable for hostile environments created by managerial or executive employees, but they can also be liable for hostile environments created by others when the company was made aware of the harassment yet did not adequately address it.
Although women are most often the victim of workplace sexual harassment (over 78% of EEOC charges between 2018 and 2021 were filed by women), sexual harassment can be perpetrated by women upon men as well. Courts have also recognized that same-sex harassment is unlawful sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII.
How The Forsythe Law Firm Can Help
Depending on how severe the harassment is, a first step for a sexual harassment victim might be to bring the matter to the employer’s attention and provide them with the opportunity to correct the situation. The employer should investigate and determine whether harassment occurred, take appropriate disciplinary measures if it did occur, and communicate those results to the victim. Companies can be held liable for sexual harassment if they fail to do this, even if they wouldn’t otherwise be liable for harassment that was not perpetrated by a superior.
The next step for the employee would typically be to file a charge with the EEOC. This charge should be filed within one year of the harassment. The EEOC can take up to 180 days to investigate the complaint. The agency can try to settle the matter through mediation or conciliation, or pursue charges against the employer. If the EEOC declines to use its enforcement powers against the employer, it will issue a Notice of Right to Sue (a “right to sue” letter) that frees the employee to file a lawsuit in federal court. Now it’s up to the employee to prove that the harassment occurred, establish the harm done and ask for appropriate relief through the courts.
Christine Forsythe is an experienced federal court litigator and active employment lawyer who stands up for women and others who have been sexually harassed in the workplace. The Forsythe Law Firm can evaluate your situation and explain your options, and advise and assist you at every stage of your complaint. Should you require skilled legal help to litigate your case, settle out of court or seek a judgment and jury verdict, you’ll find our firm ready to step in and provide passionate and vigorous representation.
Contact The Forsythe Law Firm Today
Sadly, Georgia ranks third in the country for having the most sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC as a percentage of population. The Forsythe Law Firm is committed to ending harassment in the workplace in Georgia and vindicating the rights of those who have been harassed. Contact our experienced Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer today.