Research Shows Retail Workers Frequently Experience Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited by federal, state, and local laws. Although most news stories about sexual harassment focus on wealthy celebrities or politicians, research shows that workers earning lower wages are at the highest risk of this type of harassment. Men and women working in the service sector make up a large percentage of sexual harassment victims. For a variety of reasons, retail workers employed by malls, department stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores are often especially vulnerable to discrimination and harassment. With the help of a skilled attorney, they may be able to seek damages for their pain and suffering.
Factors That Lead to Harassment in the Retail Industry
Derogatory remarks, jokes about a person’s sexuality or gender, discriminatory behavior, unwanted physical contact, sexually explicit emails, and other inappropriate speech and conduct may contribute to a form of sexual harassment called hostile work environment harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves a manager, supervisor, or another person of authority attempting to trade sexual contact for work-related benefits. Retail employees of all ages, races, and ethnicities have reported being exposed to both types of sexual harassment while at work. Experts believe that the high incidence of sexual harassment in the retail industry is caused by a number of factors including low wages, ineffective reporting procedures, and inadequate employee training. Many retail workers live paycheck to paycheck and worry that if they report sexual harassment, they will be assigned fewer work hours or an undesirable work schedule, demoted to a lower-ranking position, or even fired.
Addressing Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
It is expressly against the law in Illinois for an employer to retaliate against an employee for making a sexual harassment complaint. Although it may seem easier to ignore the behavior, it is important to report any instances of sexual harassment to the appropriate individual or department. Unfortunately, sexual harassment tends to worsen if it is not appropriately addressed. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, follow your company’s policy for reporting the harassment. If the person to whom you are supposed to report is the person who is harassing you, report the harassment to his or her supervisor. If you are retaliated against for making a sexual harassment complaint or nothing is done to address the harassment, you may have a valid sexual harassment claim.
Contact an Illinois Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Employees in any industry deserve to work in a respectful, professional environment. If you or someone you know has suffered from sexual harassment on the job, contact MKFM Law to receive the legal support you need. We will explain your rights regarding filing a lawsuit for discrimination and retaliation. Call our office today at 630-665-7300 and schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your concerns with a compassionate, skilled DuPage County sexual harassment attorney.