Seattle Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Sexual Harassment at Work
Workplace sexual harassment can cause significant financial and personal distress. From the emotional trauma of facing sexual harassment at work to lost wages due to adverse employment actions, this crime can have many repercussions for an innocent worker.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment at work in Seattle, you have options. Filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim or a lawsuit could reinstate your job, pay you back wages and/or hold your employer accountable. The lawyers at Zoldan Law Group PLLC can help you fight against sexual harassment at work. Please contact us to learn more during a consultation in Seattle.
Defining Workplace Sexual Harassment
Any unwelcome or unsolicited sexual advances or remarks at work could qualify as sexual harassment. Both the federal government and the State of Washington have laws in place prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, many employers, supervisors, workers and customers break these laws. Victims of sexual harassment can face many examples of this crime in the workplace.
- Unwanted touching, sexual or not (i.e. hugs, shoulder rubs, etc.)
- Invasions of personal space
- Solicitations for sexual favors
- Quid pro quo (this for that) harassment
- Sexual jokes or comments
- Unsolicited messages or emails of a sexual nature
- Offensive remarks about a person’s sex or sexual expression
- Bullying based on sex, gender, etc.
- Posting or sending sexual images or videos
- Gossiping about a person’s sex life
- Inappropriate gestures or facial expressions
Sexual harassment can occur between people of the same or different sexes. It can also happen at any level of employment: between a supervisor and employee, two employees, an employee and a customer or other combinations. You do not have to be the target of sexual harassment to be a victim. While federal law prohibits harassment that reaches a certain level, it does not ban simple teasing or isolated events (except in extreme situations). To have a case of sexual harassment at work, the incident must directly affect your employment, interfere with your performance at work or create a hostile work environment.
How To Respond to Sexual Harassment at Work
Many different encounters or events at work could count as sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, even if the perpetrator apologized or you did not suffer economic injury. As long as the conduct in question was unwelcome, of a sexual nature, based on sex/gender and interfered with your job, you could have a case of sexual harassment. If so, respond in a way that will protect your rights as a victim. Bring your issue to your employer’s Human Resources (HR) department. Repeat what happened in detail and fill out any related forms, if necessary. Then, document the incident and your report for yourself. Write down exactly what happened, who was there and who you spoke to in HR.
If your employer does not satisfactorily resolve the sexual harassment or hostile work environment issue, file a claim with the EEOC. A claim is an official complaint asking the EEOC to step in to resolve the case. The EEOC will investigate what happened, asking you and those involved questions during interviews. Then, the EEOC will recommend a route moving forward: mediation, proceeding without mediation or going directly to filing a lawsuit.