LGBT Individuals Who Suffer from Sexual Harassment Face Unique Challenges
Sexual harassment is considered a form of illegal sex-based or gender-based discrimination. Every employee deserves to work in an environment where they feel safe and respected. Despite numerous federal and state laws designed to protect workers from sexual harassment and discrimination, unlawful harassment continues in workplaces across the United States.
When most people think about sexual harassment, they assume that the harassment involved opposite-sex individuals – usually a male aggressor and a female victim. However, sexual harassment does not always follow this stereotype. Sexual harassment victims and perpetrators can be of either gender. Sometimes, the victim and the perpetrator are of the same gender, which can make it even harder for victims to report harassment.
Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Victims Are Often Reluctant to Report Harassment
Same-sex sexual harassment is often insidious. It may come in the form of favoritism or biased performance reviews instead of derogatory remarks whispered at the water cooler. Sexual harassment involving same-sexed individuals is often difficult to recognize. For many victims, it is also difficult to report.
Many victims of same-sex discrimination do not realize that the mistreatment they are facing constitutes sexual harassment. Others are aware that their rights are being violated but they fear retribution for reporting harassment. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals who are “closeted” or choose to keep their sexual orientation private, may worry that reporting sexual harassment will “out” them to the office – resulting in even further ridicule and embarrassment.
Legal Options for Victims of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
No one should tolerate sexual harassment at work. If you have been the victim of a hostile work environment or quid pro quo sexual harassment, it is crucial that you report the harassment via e-mail. Check your employee handbook for directions on filing a sexual harassment complaint. Employers are legally obligated to address sexual harassment. If your employer does not take steps to eliminate harassment or discriminatory behaviors, the next step may be to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
It is illegal for employers to retaliate against a worker for filing a sexual harassment complaint. If you reported sexual harassment and were subjected to negative work consequences as a result, you may be entitled to damages.
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Workplace sexual harassment often deviates from the traditional stereotypes. In fact, many sexual harassment victims face sexual harassment from co-workers or supervisors of the same gender. If you have suffered from sexual harassment or retaliation, contact a Wheaton sexual harassment attorney at MKFM Law for legal guidance. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team can help you understand your options under Illinois and federal law and take steps to assert your rights. Call us at 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.