Under the Texas Labor Code, a victim of sexual harassment can recover compensatory and punitive damages.
San Antonio, TX – The new Texas sexual harassment law, that became effective on September 1, 2021, offers a ray of hope to the victims of sex-based discrimination in the workplace. Sexual harassment was already illegal under both state and federal laws, but the new regulations expand the very definition of sexual harassment and allow victims to recover damages from individuals as well, not just from the business entity. Also, victims now have more time to file a harassment complaint, 300 days from the offensive act instead of 180. If you think you have a case and want to know how you could benefit from the new regulations, schedule a free consultation with some experienced San Antonio sexual harassment lawyers right way.
How is sexual harassment defined in Texas?
Under the new law, sexual harassment is defined as a physical or verbal sexual act that “has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment”. What is significant about this new definition is the inclusion of the term “intimidating”, as it seems easier to prove than a downright hostile work environment.
There are two types of sexual harassment for which an employee can file a complaint, quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
Quid pro quo refers to those cases when a supervisor or an individual in a management position requires sexual acts from an employee, in exchange for a promotion or under the threat of a demotion or termination.
Hostile work environment is the term used to complain when an employee is harassed by one or more coworkers.
Skilled sexual harassment lawyers can help you gather the evidence you need to support your complaint, no matter what type of harassment you were subjected to.
Who is liable for damages?
Before the new law was enacted, a victim of sexual harassment could seek damages only from the company, not from the those actually guilty of discriminating against them. According to the new law, a victim can now recover damages from any “person that acts directly in the interest of the employer in relation to the employee” if the harassment “reasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance”. This means that when you file a complaint you can seek damages from a coworker, a supervisor or even a contractor that harassed you, but the employer is also liable for damages.
What type of damages can you recover in San Antonio sexual harassment case?
Under the Texas Labor Code, a victim of sexual harassment can recover compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages refer to the lost wages, in care you were fired or forced to quit your job, but also to the emotional damages you’ve suffered. Since it is hard to put a price on mental anguish, you will need to seek advice from seasoned Texas sexual harassment lawyers who’ve dealt with such cases in the past and know how much money your claim may be worth.
If you have good lawyers working on your case, you might be awarded punitive damages as well, which are not meant to actually compensate you, but rather to punish an employer who failed in their duty to provide a safe workplace, free from sexual harassment.