What You Should Know About Workplace Sexual Harassment

As an employee, you should never have to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace.

However, the reality is that there are over 11,000 sex-based charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year. This doesn’t account for charges filed directly with state or local agencies.

If you are a person who has experienced unwelcome sexual advances, verbal or physical advances in a sexual nature, requests for sexual favors in the workplace, or if there have been offensive remarks about your sex, please get in touch with our attorneys. One study showed that the average sexual harassment settlement amount is approximately $50,000, and plaintiffs who take their cases to court walk away with an average of more than $217,000.

Sexual violence in the workplace is also a huge problem. The United States Department of Justice estimates that eight percent of all rapes occur while the victim is working. Whether it’s power relations from a supervisor, co-worker, customer, vendor, or anyone else in the workplace, sexual violence and harassment are against the law.

At Mastandrea Law, our goal is to protect you, the employee, from workplace sexual harassers and uphold your civil rights.

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Sexual Harassment Defined

According to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, sexual harassment is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature that creates discomfort and/or interferes with the job. It can occur in several ways, including verbal abuse, physical conduct of a sexual nature, or nonverbal actions.

Additionally, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited by the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Ohio Revised Code 4112.02, Ohio Administrative Code 123:1-49, and the Anti-Discrimination Policy in State Government EO 2011-05K.

 

The two most common ways sexual harassment presents itself are:

exchange

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

In these scenarios, submission to the sexual demands becomes the basis for an employment decision.

For example, a manager leads an employee to believe that his or her job depends on meeting sexual demands.

danger

A Hostile Working Environment

In these scenarios, sexual harassment creates a work environment that is intimidating and offensive.

For example, a co-worker makes unwelcome sexual advances or comments, treating another person as a sexual object.

Types of Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims Mastandrea Law, LLC Can Assist With

The truth is, sexual harassment claims take many shapes and forms. Mastandrea Law, LLC is here to help employers navigate any sexual harassment allegations.

Below are some examples of workplace sexual harassment claims we can assist with.

Cases Where The:

organization-structure

Harasser Is A Supervisor

man-user

Harasser Is A Non-Employee

cubicle

Harasser Is A Co-Worker

employment-man

Harasser Is An Agent Of The Employer

gender

Harasser Is The Same Sex As The Victim

gender (1)

The Harasser Is The Opposite Sex Of The Victim

organization

The Victim Was Not Directly Harassed But Was Affected By The Offensive Conduct

Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaint Process in Ohio

Contrary to what you may believe, an individual does not have to hire a private attorney in order to file a formal sexual harassment complaint in Ohio.

According to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, “any individual who feels they are a victim of discrimination because of their race, color, sex, age, ancestry, national origin, disability, military status, or religion can file a formal complaint with the OCRC by telephone, website, or at a local office.

The OCRC states that once a complaint has been filed, both parties will have the option to participate in mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful or one of the parties refuses to participate, the case is then referred to the investigative unit. The Commission then determines whether or not discrimination has occurred, using a series of steps that include witness interviews, document requests, and site visits. The State of Ohio provides these services free of charge to individuals who have allegedly suffered from sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind.

Additionally, individuals have the option to file a complaint at the federal level with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Wondering what you should do about a sexual allegation claim in Cleveland?

Myths About Workplace Sexual Harassment

Conduct does not have to be sexual in nature to be considered sexual harassment. It could be any undesired behavior that singles out an individual out based on their gender. This means that sexual harassment can occur between people of the same sex as much as it can occur between people of the opposite sex.

This is not true. A person can be considered a victim of sexual harassment even if they were not the direct target of the harassment. Any individual who is impacted by a work environment that is hostile, offensive, or intimidating can file a complaint of harassment.

False. An employee can file a sexual harassment complaint regardless of whether they were fired or economically damaged as a result of the harassment. Being subjected to workplace sexual harassment is illegal in and of itself.

A romantic history does not prevent an individual from making a sexual harassment claim. Remember, the basis of a sexual harassment claim is that the conduct is unwelcome. This means that if an employee has made it clear to another person that they have no further romantic interest in them, any unwanted sexual advances or attention could be considered a basis for a sexual harassment claim. As you can see, these situations can quickly turn into “he said, she said” situations, making the need for a lawyer who knows what they are doing to be more important than ever.

Incorrect. In order for the conduct to be considered harassment, it must be unwanted and unwelcomed. For this reason, employees should be encouraged to speak up about sexual advances that are unwanted, if it is safe to do so.

As you can imagine, sexual allegation claims can quickly become he said, she said situations. You need an attorney who can fight for the best possible outcome for you, the employer.

As Cleveland-based criminal defense attorneys, Mastandrea Law, LLC is here for you.