Prevention by employers is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.
It has been almost fifty years since Cornell Scholars publicly introduced the term “sexual harassment,” addressing the widespread problem of negative workplace interaction from employers against women at that time. Claims to push back against the negative behavior became legal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as workplace discrimination, and more recently in the 2020 Supreme Court of the United States ruling in favor of gay, lesbian, and transgender employee rights from discrimination based on sex. Concerns should be discussed with Scottsdale sexual harassment lawyers if an employee feels they have experienced sexual harassment.
Employees have rights to file claims when workplace sexual harassment causes them harms. When a sexual harassment victim files a claim with the EEOC, they sign a statement asserting that their workplace violated federal workplace discrimination laws. It’s a charge requesting the EEOC take remedial action. This action is the first step toward formal litigation and consultation with an Arizona sexual harassment attorney is beneficial as this point.
The law addresses sexual harassment in the form of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature through:
- Quid Pro Quo. Authoritative figures/bosses in the workplace demand, or require sexual acts for preferential treatment, or to avoid punitive action – employment decisions made because an individual has submitted to, or rejected the negative behaviors.
- Hostile Work Environment. A boss, or employer does not remedy a work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior is present, negatively affecting work performance and creating intimidating, hostile and abusive work environments.
Experienced lawyers guide legal actions when the work-related incident is one of a civil nature that can be more easily remedied then that of a criminal nature as sexual assault, where unwanted sexual contact using force, coercion, or incapacitation occurs is a criminal offense.
Identify sexual harassment
- Uninvited physical contact.
- Sexual assault.
- Displaying sexually explicit media, or objects.
- Intimidation through rude remarks that are gender-related.
- Offering promotions, special treatment, or limiting advancement and threatening termination based on requests and submission of sexual favors.
- Understated flirting, or sexually suggestive conversation.
Victims should inform the harasser that their conduct is unwelcome and insist that it stops void of danger. They should use any employer complaint mechanism, or grievance system available, including complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Positive settlement awards may be the result of strong cases presented by experienced sexual harassment lawyers.
Employees in Arizona are also protected against workplace discrimination through the Arizona Civil Rights Act. Employers are prohibited against discriminating against employees and job applicants on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, veteran status, family medical leave, and pregnancy (ARS 41-1463). Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees engaged in protected activities, including filing EEOC complaints, participating in an investigation, or participating in a discrimination lawsuit.
Prevention by employers is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, through clear communication to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated, keeping in mind that leadership and workplace culture have a positive impact on the reduction of sexual harassment. Victims of sexual harassment have legal options and seeking legal counsel is the first thing a victim should do after reporting the abuse through the proper channels at their place of employment.