Being the victim of sexual harassment can have substantial negative impacts on a person’s life, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The person who has been harassed may suffer in a variety of ways. It can take a toll on their career, feelings of safety and well-being, and confidence.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, you may wonder how to file a lawsuit to deal with this type of conduct. In this article, we will discuss what constitutes sexual harassment, what your rights are, and how to pursue legal action.
Defining Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment takes multiple forms. It can happen to people of any gender or sexual orientation and be committed by people of any gender or sexual orientation as well. Listed below are some of the more common ways sexual harassment may affect the people who have been subjected to this kind of treatment in the workplace:
- Verbal harassment, including sexual comments, jokes, unwanted sexual advances, sexual propositions, innuendos, and suggestive language, is considered sexual harassment.
- Physical harassment, including physical contact that is sexual in nature, like unwanted touching, groping, hugging, or kissing, is unwelcome in the workplace and may be grounds for a sexual harassment case.
- Visual harassment is exposure to disturbing sexual images or sexually explicit videos. Another form of visual harassment is when one is subjected to lewd behavior.
- Quid pro quo harassment involves making employment or other benefits like career advancement contingent on the victim complying with sexual requests or advances.
- Hostile work environments occur when a victim is subjected to unwelcome, severe sexual misconduct. This conduct can be due to the pervasive culture that is intimidating, hostile, or offensive.
- Online harassment involves sending sexually explicit messages, photos, or videos through social media channels, email, or other digital platforms. This is often considered cyberstalking.
- Retaliatory Behavior may occur when a person who is being sexually harassed takes action by reporting the behavior, participating in an investigation, or pursuing a lawsuit against the harasser.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
If you have been sexually harassed at work, you may wish to pursue legal action. To file a sexual harassment lawsuit, follow these steps:
- File a complaint with the court. In the complaint, provide specific details describing the alleged harassment taking care to include dates, places, and the person or people involved.
- The defendant must be served with a copy of the complaint and a summons informing them that they must appear in court.
- The defendant will issue a response within the allotted amount of time. They can respond to the complaint by admitting or denying the allegations against them.
- Discovery is a term that simply means that evidence and information about the case are shared with both sides. This may include depositions and documentation.
- Mediation can occur when both parties participate in an attempt to resolve the incident(s) without going to court.
- Pretrial motions involve both parties filing motions to request for specific rulings and requesting to exclude particular evidence or findings from being presented during the trial.
- The case goes to trial if mediation fails and both sides have an opportunity to present evidence and arguments before a judge or jury.
- The verdict is reached and handed down by the judge or jury, which may award the victim damages if the defendant is found liable.
- Appealing the verdict is allowed by either party if they feel there were mistakes in the trial or that the verdict was not based on the evidence brought before the court.
Pursuing Legal Justice
If you or a loved one has been sexually harassed at work, you may experience a range of negative emotions like anxiety, depression, anger, fear, hopelessness, and frustration. Often a victim’s self-esteem can be diminished after being humiliated, ashamed, and embarrassed at work.
This type of loss of confidence is can manifest itself in anxiety disorders, physical symptoms, impaired job performance, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Victims sometimes face relationship problems, feelings of isolation, and loneliness and are at an increased risk of victimization in the future.
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, it is crucial to seek legal counsel and to bring the individual who is tormenting you to justice. At the Law Offices of Christopher Eads, we will be by your side every step of the way, as we fight for justice for you.