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How Do I Report Sexual Harassment in Jacksonville?

— March 2, 2022

Put your complaint in writing, make a copy of it and try to obtain a receipt or registry number.

Jacksonville, FL – Sexual harassment continues to be a prevalent problem in Florida, even though this type of sex-based discrimination is prohibited under state and federal laws. The only effective way to put a stop to such harmful conduct is for victims to stand up for their rights and fight against their harassers. The problem is most women subjected to sexual harassment feel powerless and don’t know who to turn to. The best option is to turn to experienced Jacksonville sexual harassment lawyers and let them guide you through the legal process. The first step is to see whether your specific situation meets the legal definition of sexual harassment.

How is sexual harassment defined in Florida?

According to the Florida Administrative Code, sexual harassment can be defined as

 unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature from any person directed towards or in the presence of an employee or applicant”.

In order to have a case, Florida sexual harassment lawyers need to prove that “submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition” of their client’s employment. This refers mostly to quid pro quo cases, when an employee is harassed by a supervisor or manager asking for sexual favors. 

You can also claim sexual harassment if said conduct “has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment”. 

How to report sexual harassment in Jacksonville

First, you need to tell your harassers that their conduct is offensive to you and they should stop. In a male-dominated environment there’s little chance this will happen, but you need to confront them anyway, if only to prevent them from later claiming they had no idea you took offense and they thought it was all innocent fun, or that you welcomed their sexual advances.

Image of person painted on ground with leaf covering genitalial; image by Joel de Vriend, via
Image of person painted on ground with leaf covering genitalial; image by Joel de Vriend, via

Next thing you need to do is voice your concern with your employer or any management representative indicated in the company’s anti-discrimination policy. Put your complaint in writing, make a copy of it and try to obtain a receipt or registry number. If you don’t, your employer might claim they had no idea what you were going through and therefore they are not liable for any damages. 

According to the law, your employer is required to investigate your complaint promptly, inform you of their findings and of the measures taken to remedy the problem.

If the employer ignores your complaint or, worse, retaliates against you, your sexual harassment lawyers will help you file an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision within 300 days of the alleged incident. Or you can file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Rights within one year. Your lawyers will help gather evidence to support your claims. You can submit a diary of all the offensive actions, photos of sexually-explicit displays in the office, pornographic messages sent to you, as well as testimonies coming from coworkers who witnessed your harassment.

Either agency will investigate your complaint and will offer to negotiate a settlement between you and your employer. If your employer refuses to negotiate, you may be issued a notice to sue allowing you to file a lawsuit. In some cases, the agency may decide to file a lawsuit on your behalf.

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