An experienced harassment lawyer can help

You have the right to a safe work environment, and that means harassment is serious business. Whether you’ve been harassed by colleagues, supervisors or customers, your employer has a legal responsibility to make sure you’re safe at work, and you have legal recourse if that responsibility isn’t met. Empower Legal Group can help.

Defining harassment in the workplace

In order to be legally actionable, harassment has to meet certain criteria. Not all types of uncomfortable or unpleasant behavior qualify as harassment from a legal perspective. There are two major categories of illegal harassment in the workplace: sexual harassment and protected category harassment.

Workplace sexual harassment

While sexual harassment has gotten significant attention recently thanks to the #MeToo movement, many employees (and employers) are still unclear on what qualifies as sexual harassment. Some common examples include:

  • Inappropriate touching or invading personal space in a sexualized manner.
  • Making sexualized jokes or comments in the workplace.
  • Sharing or posting sexualized images.

Perhaps the most well-known examples of sexual harassment involve a “quid pro quo;” that is, making hiring, retention, advancement or other favorable employment actions contingent on sexual favors. However, there does not need to be a quid pro quo element to rise to the level of sexual harassment. Any behavior that creates a hostile work environment may be sufficient to establish a harassment case.

Discriminatory/protected category harassment

It is illegal to harass employees on the basis of a protected category, such as race, age, national origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation. In order to be legally actionable, you need to be able to show a link between the protected category and the harassing behavior. For example, the harassment may involve harmful stereotypes or hostile treatment of someone who doesn’t fit the “norms” of the workplace.

What we can do about workplace harassment

If you’re still working at the same employer and still being harassed, our first priority is to intervene and put a stop to the harassment. Your safety and health come first.

Once the situation is stable, we’ll work with you to find the right resolution for you. Depending on the type and severity of the harassment, you may be able to stay with the same employer with significant changes in place to prevent future harassment; for example, the person who harassed you could be terminated or transferred to a different location. In other circumstances, we’ll negotiate your exit and ensure that you can get your career back on track.

No matter what the result ends up being, we’ll listen to you and advocate for you every step of the way. It starts with a confidential conversation about your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with attorney Irene Bassock.

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