Workplace Sexual Harassment: Taking Advantage of Protections Available Under the Law

Despite the fact the law prohibits sexual harassment and other forms of workplace discrimination, it still exists in many workplaces. And a lot of victims do not speak up or come forward due to fear and embarrassment. However, legal protection is available to them. Under the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII and the Texas Labor Code, sexual harassment is prohibited. An Austin sexual harassment lawyer can help you bring a sexual harassment claim under such laws regardless of the number of workers employed by your company. 

Sexual Harassment Characteristics

Workplace sexual harassment usually appears through a quid pro quo. With this kind of sexual harassment, a lower-ranking worker is forced by a high-ranking worker into sexual acts for employment-related benefits such as promotion. The harasser may say that the victim can get hired or promoted if they accept sexual advances or go on a date with the harasser. Sometimes, quid pro quo harassment can concern serious matters like employment status, it often deals with minor employment aspects like raises, vacation times, and changes. 

Sometimes, when victims make a claim, they must prove that their harasser took adverse action against them. Adverse action can include being suspended, losing job offers or promotions, being demoted, being terminated, or facing reassignment. Retaliation against workers who refuse sexual advances by their coworkers is not legal. Filing a complaint about sexual harassment in good faith is a type of protected activity. 

Moreover, a lot of sexual harassment cases in workplaces appear through a generalized hostile environment. In this case, the victim may not get specific sex-related demands but they find their workplace unbearable because of their coworkers’ sexualized actions. Employees may direct offensive sexual advances toward others or just make sexually charged comments about them. Also, a workplace can become hostile if it has been common for employees to tease their coworkers about their personal life. Extreme forms of harassment include touching, direction positions for sex, and flashing of other employees. If your workplace has a hostile environment, your employer can face liability for sexual harassment. 

The Right Time to Bring a Claim

Keep in mind that you may not make the most out of the sexual harassment law if you walk off your job. While it can be hard to keep a job where someone is sexually harassing you, quitting can have negative effects on your ability to bring a legal claim later. But you can protect your rights and yourself from retaliation if you hire a sexual harassment attorney. 

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