The former firefighter was subjected to verbal abuse targeting her sexual orientation, and egregious physical harassment including shoving, spitting and having brain matter and blood thrown at her leading to permanent disability.
On August 23, 2021, a former Providence Fire Department lieutenant filed a second lawsuit against her employer accusing them of refusing to award her with accidental disability benefits. She had previously won a case against the City for the harassment she experienced on the job due to her gender and sexual orientation. The new suit claims that the former lieutenant is entitled to accidental disability benefits due to a mental disability she has suffered caused by the frequent workplace abuse. Sexual harassment attorneys are instrumental in claims against workplace harassment.
The former firefighter was subjected to verbal abuse targeting her sexual orientation, and egregious physical harassment including shoving, spitting and having brain matter and blood thrown at her leading to permanent disability. Discrimination in employment on the basis of sex or sexual orientation is prohibited by Rhode Island law. Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination. Any employer with 50 or more employees is required by state law to have policies in place to protect employees against sexual harassment and provide employees with a written copy of their policies. Individuals who experience harassment in their workplace due to the gender or sexual orientation should consult a sexual harassment attorney in Rhode Island.
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.
- Hostile Work Environment. A boss or employer does not remedy a work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior is present creating intimidating, hostile and abusive work environments.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, and the federal government. If there is some reason that a victim is not protected under Title VII language, a civil rights, personal injury, or employment law attorney may be able to offer another means toward compensation when sexual harassment causes harm and damage to an employee.
Sexual harassment claims
Sexual harassment claims cannot be made if the sexual behavior was welcomed, or occurred with mutual consent. Sexual harassment is illegal when it is so frequent, or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, or when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as a victim being fired, transferred, or demoted. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
Victims of sexual harassment have legal options against sexual harassment, and seeking legal counsel is the first thing a victim should do after reporting the abuse through the proper channels at a place of employment, or at school, or wherever the incident took place; if there are procedural guidelines set up that must be followed.
Avenues for reporting
- Direct reporting.
- Requesting mediation as an informal solution.
- Employer grievance procedures.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the alleged sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Monetary damages including back pay, attorney and court fees, emotional pain, and negative effects of the harassment.
- Equitable relief by job reinstatement, or promotion.
- Punitive damages if actions were extremely offensive, and egregious sexual harassment misconduct.
If you, or someone you know is a victim of sexual harassment, or related sexual assault, seek out a professional attorney for guidance toward legal actions that will remedy the situation.