Employees have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment. Although women face incidents of sexual harassment more often, men can also be subject to harassment from supervisors and coworkers. Sexual harassment can take the form of various actions, ranging from lewd comments to forced sexual acts. Victims of sexual harassment have legal rights against their harassers. Birmingham sexual harassment lawyer, Will Beckum aggressively advocates for employees who have been sexually harassed in the workplace. At Beckum Law, we assist clients in pursuing proper legal action against those responsible for their harm. We recognize the importance of preventing harassment from continuing, as well as righting the wrongs done to victims. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace or subjected to another type of discriminatory practice, contact our office today to see how we can help.Illegal Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Under federal regulations set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” EEOC regulations also specify that victims and harassers can be either women or men. Generally, there are two types of sexual harassment that can occur in the workplace. ‘Quid pro quo’ sexual harassment refers to threats issued against an employee if they do not engage in sexual acts demanded by an employer, or promotions or other job perks offered in exchange for sexual favors. Alternatively, a ‘hostile work environment’ exists when an employee is subjected to unwanted sexual advances, propositions, jokes, or pictures. Hostile work environment claims can also arise from an employee being subjected to derogatory comments or gender discrimination practices. A sexual harassment attorney can advise Birmingham employees on which of these theories more likely applies to their situation.
Alabama does not have a state law specifically prohibiting employment actions that discriminate on the basis of sex. However, federal statutes protect employees from sexual harassment at work. Hostile work environment claims are usually brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Employers covered by Title VII are expected to train supervisors and employees regarding proper workplace conduct, including how to identify, report, and prevent workplace sexual harassment.
In order to pursue a sexual harassment claim for damages with a Birmingham sexual harassment attorney, the plaintiff must show that she reported the harassment to the company, pursuant to the company’s guidelines and policies, and the company had the opportunity to take action to remedy the situation. There is a limited exception to the reporting requirement in instances in which no reporting procedure was available, and the harassment was so obvious that supervisors had constructive knowledge of its occurrence.
People who have decided to leave a job due to sexual harassment may still pursue a wrongful termination claim under the legal theory of constructive discharge. Constructive discharge exists when an individual is subjected to working conditions that are so adverse that any reasonable person would leave given the circumstances. When sexual harassment has been proven, victims may recover damages for lost income, emotional distress, and attorney’s fees. Employers may also be ordered to pay punitive damages in certain cases. Proving sexual harassment claims can be complex, and having a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side is important in making sure that all of the proper steps are followed.Discuss Your Situation With a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Birmingham
Employees should not be subjected to lewd comments, acts, or other hostile conditions when going to work. Employers and individuals who allow sexual harassment to pervade the workplace need to be held accountable for the harm that results. Attorney William Beckum assists people across the state of Alabama, including in Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Jasper, Montgomery, Cullman, Huntsville, Sylacauga, and Tuscaloosa. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, and you would like to know more about your legal rights and options, contact our office today online or at 205-588-0699 to learn more about our services. We also provide legal guidance and representation in the areas of construction law and estate planning.