Sexual Harassment in the Medical Field: Your Rights and Options
No industry is immune from harassment and discrimination. However, certain industries tend to have greater problems with sexual harassment than others. Multiple studies have shown that the healthcare industry is one of the top industries in which sexual harassment reports are filed.
One study found that over 40 percent of female nurses had experienced sexual harassment on the job. However, nurses, doctors, surgeons, nurses assistants, aides, and other workers of both genders may be victims of sexual harassment.
If you were sexually harassed at work or threatened with retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint, it is crucial that you understand your rights and legal options in this situation.
Employers Have a Duty to Prevent and Address Sexual Harassment
Federal, state, and local laws require employers to take sexual harassment prevention seriously. If an employee makes a sexual harassment complaint, the employer must take corrective action. If the employer fails to address the sexual harassment appropriately, or worse, punishes the employee for having the courage to speak out, the employer can face serious repercussions. The employee may be entitled to back pay and other forms of compensation.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Medical Field
Sexual harassment can take many different forms. In some cases, an employee is subjected to offensive language, sexually explicit media, or discriminatory behaviors based on his or her sex. Sexual harassment can also include “quid pro quo” demands such as offering a worker better benefits or higher pay in exchange for sexual favors.
Third-party sexual harassment occurs when somebody other than an employee or employer sexually harasses a worker. For example, a nurse may be subjected to unwanted touching or explicit language from a patient, pharmaceutical representative, or vendor. Employers have a duty to intervene in situations like these and keep their employees safe.
Retaliation is Illegal
Some medical personnel fear speaking up about any type of sexual harassment because they worry about being punished. For example, a young doctor who is being sexually harassed by older doctors at a hospital may worry that if they speak up, their work schedule will be adversely affected.
Retaliation can take the form of unjustified demotions, reduced hours, unfavorable work duties and schedules, or termination. The law makes it very clear that retaliation is illegal. If in an employee is retaliated against for participating in a sexual harassment investigation, filing a sexual harassment complaint, or reporting discrimination at work, he or she may be entitled to legal remedies, including monetary damages.
Contact our Wheaton Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you work in the medical field and have been sexually harassed or illegally retaliated against, contact the skilled DuPage County sexual harassment attorneys at MKFM Law. We will investigate your case and help you determine your legal options, providing dependable legal support and representation every step of the way. Call 630-665-7300 for a free, private consultation.