Standing Up For Alabama Sexual Harassment Victims

Sexual harassment which creates a hostile or offensive environment for members of one sex is every bit the arbitrary barrier to sexual equality at the workplace that racial harassment is to racial equality. Surely, a requirement that a man or woman run a gauntlet of sexual abuse in return for the privilege of being allowed to work and make a living can be as demeaning and disconcerting as the harshest of racial epithets.

Henson v. City of Dundee, 682 F.2d 897, 902 (11th Cir. 1982)

Sexual harassment, while humiliating and demeaning wherever it occurs, is particularly offensive when it happens in the workplace. We all deserve a work environment governed by respect - not intimidation and unwanted advances. But, despite strong language from the courts condemning such conduct, it still occurs all too frequently. The attorneys at Haynes & Haynes are committed to stopping harassment in the workplace and fighting for what is right on behalf of employees in Alabama.

At Haynes & Haynes, our attorneys have secured multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of victims of unwanted sexual harassment in the workplace. If you have been harassed in the workplace, we may be able to help you, too. Fill out our online form or call us today to discuss your situation. The consultation is always free.

Defining Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a type of workplace discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") defines the type of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. In order to constitute sexual harassment, the conduct must be based upon sex and must be unwelcome (in the sense that the employee did not solicit or invite it, or in the sense that the employee regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive). Finally, the harassment must affect a term, condition, or privilege of employment. The state of psychological well-being is a term, condition, or privilege of employment within the meaning of Title VII. In some instances, sexual harassment may involve the requirement that an employee engage in sexual conduct as a condition for obtaining or retaining a job benefit: so-called quid pro quo harassment. While this is unlawful, this quid pro quo is not necessary for the harassment to be unlawful. Harassment that is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to interfere with the performance of your job can be unlawful, even if you do not suffer any tangible employment action because of the harassment. The harassment can be verbal, physical, or even done electronically. 

Who Can Be Liable For Sexual Harassment?

Any person can sexually harass another person, regardless of gender. Men can sexually harass men or women, and women can sexually harass women or men. Under Title VII, only the actual "employer" can be held liable for sexual harassment, although liability can be established based upon the conduct of a supervisor, a manager, a co-worker, or even a non-employee, such as a customer. In some particularly egregious circumstances, it may be possible to hold the individual harasser personally liable for his or her conduct.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

Here are a few examples of situations that amount to sexual harassment. Sadly, we see these happen far too often:

  • Your boss asks you to meet him or her outside the office on a date and suggests you will get a raise if you agree.
  • A boss, co-worker, or customer makes repeated sexually suggestive comments about your body, even after you tell him or her to stop.
  • A boss, co-worker, or customer repeatedly touches you inappropriately, despite your objections.
  • A boss, co-worker, or customer makes repeated sexual overtures in emails to you.
  • Your boss implies that you will benefit professionally, or avoid being fired, if you engage in sexual activity with him or her.
  • A boss, co-worker, or customer repeatedly shares sexually provocative emails or photographs with you which are not work-related.
  • A boss, co-worker, or customer criticizes you for not being feminine or masculine enough in your attire, speech, or mannerisms.

You should not have to tolerate this kind of behavior, especially at your place of work. If you believe you have been subjected to sexually offensive conduct in the workplace, the attorneys at Haynes & Haynes can stand up for you. We will take on any company that puts its employees in such unjust situations.

What Can I Do?

If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, you must first understand what your rights are and how to protect them. While you do have the right to work in a place free of harassment and intimidation, there are steps which you must take to insure that your rights are preserved. Unfortunately, you may lose those rights if you do not take certain steps to protect yourself. Most importantly, you must speak up and object if you are the victim of sexual harassment. Tell the harasser to stop, in no uncertain terms. Explain that the conduct is offensive and unwelcome and is adversely affecting your ability to perform your job. If your employer has a sexual harassment policy, follow the procedures set forth in that policy. Keep good notes of the offensive conduct and your complaints to management. Doing these things, and having a competent lawyer guide you through this process, can be important in securing a workplace free of harassment and discrimination.

The EEOC also provides an administrative process which can resolve these problems early and without the necessity of formal legal proceedings. While you may use the EEOC process on your own, having a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the EEOC and its procedures can be a valuable weapon in your battle for equality in the workplace.

Unfortunately, sometimes formal legal action is required to make this behavior stop. If you hire an attorney and take action on behalf of what is right, you may not only stop the harassment as to you, but may, through your efforts, prevent others from becoming victims in the future.

Can My Employer Fire Me If I Complain?

Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for asserting your rights as an employee. It is against the law. If they try to, we've got your back. That's our job as your attorney.

Get an Advocate Working For You

If you have suffered from sexual harassment at work, the lack of respect shown to you is unacceptable, and we want to help make it right. The attorneys at Haynes & Haynes have the utmost respect for our clients and are committed to ridding the workplace of all sexual harassment.

We know standing up to your employer is not an easy thing to do, and we commend you on taking the step to seek legal representation. We are proud to advocate for Alabama workers and make the process as simple as we can for them.

Fill out our online form, or call Haynes & Haynes today to speak with an attorney about your situation.