Fairfield Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of employment discrimination faced by Connecticut workers. Indeed, sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of behaviors and actions that are often simply accepted as œjust part of the job. Many victims are reluctant to even come forward with sexual harassment allegations, as they fear possible retaliation from their employer or, even worse, that nobody will believe them.
At Carey & Associates, P.C., we advise and represent people just like you who are unsure of how to deal with sexual harassment. We can help explain how federal and state laws dealing with harassment work and what legal steps you can take to put a stop to such conduct. In many cases, you may be entitled to financial compensation as a result of sexual harassment, especially if you have been fired or faced any form of retaliation for filing internal complaints.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
In simple terms, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, which is prohibited under both federal and Connecticut state law. Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex. Harassing someone because of their sex is therefore also illegal.
We typically divide sexual harassment into two groups: quid pro quo harassment and œhostile work environment claims. In quid pro quo harassment, an employer“including a manager or supervisor“makes unwelcome sexual advances or requests sexual favors from an employee in exchange for some employment-related benefit. For example, if your supervisor offers you a promotion in exchange for sleeping with them, that is sexual harassment. Conversely, if a manager threatens to fire or demote you for rejecting a sexual advance, that is also harassment.
Hostile work environment claims cover a much broader category of behaviors. Essentially, even if an employer does not directly request sexual favors or make unwelcome sexual advances, they may still engage in acts that create what the law considers an œintimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment for employees based on their sex. Some common examples of this include but are not limited to:
- Making suggestive or lewd remarks
- Displaying derogatory or pornographic materials in the workplace
- Unwanted hugs, touches, or kisses
At the same time, not every offensive remark“or even teasing“rises to the level of sexual harassment, assuming it is an isolated incident. Sexual harassment means the conduct is frequent or severe enough to interfere with the employee’s ability to do their job.
It is also important to understand that sexual harassment is not, strictly speaking, a man-on-woman issue. The harasser and the victim can be of the same sex or gender. And while sexual harassment claims often involve an employee’s supervisor, it can also cover hostile acts by a co-worker or even a third party, such as a client or customer of the employer.
How to Deal with Sexual Harassment
For many victims of sexual harassment, their first instinct is to report the problem to their employer’s human resources department. This often results in little, if any action, taken by the employer. In some cases, the victim may even face retaliation for simply filing a complaint.
So if you cannot seek relief inside of the company, you need to go outside“specifically, by filing a sexual harassment charge with either the state or federal government. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) have joint authority to enforce laws against sexual harassment. These agencies can investigate your case and take action against your employer“or, in the alternative, they can issue a œright to sue letter so you can take direct legal action yourself.
If an employer is ultimately found liable for sexual harassment, the law provides a number of possible remedies, which include:
- Awarding back pay to the affected employees
- Ordering hiring, reinstatement, or promotion of an employee or job applicant affected by the discriminatory conduct
- Awarding compensatory damages to compensate employees for any out-of-pocket losses
- Issuing a œcease and desist order to prevent the employer from engaging in any future acts of sexual harassment
Contact Our Fairfield Sexual Harassment Lawyers Today
Before taking any formal action against an employer, it is always best to consult with our knowledgeable Fairfield sexual harassment lawyers. Here at Carey & Associates, P.C., we are happy to sit down with you and review your case. Call us today at (203) 255-4150 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.
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