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DuPage County sexual harassment attorney

Sexual harassment falls into two main categories. The first involves a manager, supervisor, or employer attempting to use his or her position as a means of gaining sexual favors from an applicant or current employee. The other category involves inappropriate actions that create a “hostile work environment.” In order to prove that you have been a victim of hostile work environment sexual harassment according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you and your attorney will need to demonstrate that the harassment was “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to create an abusive workplace. Keeping a sexual harassment log is often the best way to ensure that you have accurate records of harassing incidents or behaviors.  

Record Every Instance of Harassment

A single inappropriate joke or remark most likely will not constitute sexual harassment according to the law. However, an employee should speak up about any statements and behaviors that are disparaging or discriminatory in nature. Even if these actions do not represent sexual harassment in the legal sense, they are still unacceptable. When discriminatory, derogatory, or offensive remarks or behavior become so commonplace that they change the nature of the work environment, the victim may have a valid sexual harassment claim. The best way to ensure that you will have the evidence you need for a sexual harassment complaint is to create a sexual harassment log. In your records, make sure to include information about:

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysCompanies throughout Illinois and across the country are taking steps to prevent and combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, however, the problem still exists. One of the most devastating effects of sexual harassment at work is that it can make the victim feel isolated, demoralized, and unsure of how to proceed. Some victims assume that ignoring the issue will eventually make it go away, but this is rarely how things work. If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, you will need to become your own advocate and tell someone.

Moral Responsibility vs. Legal Responsibility

From a moral standpoint, your employer should conduct business in such a way that makes you feel safe at all times. A case could be made that, morally and ethically, an employer should not tolerate even a single inappropriate comment, pick-up line, or unwanted sexual advance by any of its employees.

Legally, things are much different, at least in most cases. While “quid pro quo” sexual harassment does occur, in which the harasser offers promotions, increased pay, or other favorable treatment in exchange for a “date” or sexual favors, workplace sexual harassment often takes the form of hostile work environment sexual harassment. This type of harassment refers to a repeated, pervasive pattern of behavior that affect the victim’s ability to do his or her job.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIt is an unfortunate reality that sexual harassment allegations are prevalent in the restaurant industry. In fact, over 14 percent of the 41,250 sexual harassment claims filed between 2005 and 2015 in the U.S were in the food service and hospitality sectors. One study found that 40% of women have experienced unwelcome sexual behaviors while at work. Fortunately, public perception of sexual harassment is changing, and many behaviors which were once tolerated are no longer socially acceptable.

Close Proximity and Availability of Alcohol May Contribute to Harassment Risk

There are several reasons that sexual harassment is such an issue in the food service industry. In some circumstances, restaurant owners or chefs have absolute power. If a chef who brings in massive revenue for the restaurant sexually harasses a server, the restaurant may simply fire the server. Employees who are unaware of their legal rights may assume they must tolerate unwanted attention because their immediate boss will not stop it. This is worsened by the fact that many young people work in restaurants. A young teenager at their first job may assume that all work places involve inappropriate behavior since they have no other work experience to use as a comparison. The close quarters of many restaurants can also increase the prevalence of sexual harassment. Employees who work at bars and restaurants with alcohol may have the greatest risk of being sexually harassed because of the inhibition-lowering effects of drinking.

Employers Can Be Held Liable if They Allow Employees to be Sexual Harassed

Many servers, bussers, cashiers, and other restaurant workers have experienced instances when a customer did or said something that made them feel very uncomfortable, but they did not say anything for fear of losing tip money. While customers acting inappropriately toward an employee itself is not considered unlawful sexual harassment, if it is reported and the employer does nothing to stop it, the employee can bring a claim of hostile work environment sexual harassment against the employer.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysSexual harassment can be devastating for those victimized by it. If you are being treated inappropriately at work, you may feel embarrassed, helpless, angry, and unsure of how to respond. First and foremost, you should know that sexual harassment is never acceptable and that every person, regardless of gender or status, deserves to feel safe at work. If you are currently being sexually harassed, it is critical that you document every instance of harassment.

Sexual Harassment is Against the Law

Although some perpetrators claim otherwise, sexual harassment is against both local and federal law. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination or harassment due to a person's sex. There are two types of sexual harassment according to the law. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a superior encourages an employee to trade sexual favors for workplace perks or continued employment. Hostile workplace harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, sexually-charged and offensive remarks, and inappropriate physical contact. In order to be considered illegal harassment, hostile workplace sexual harassment must be severe or pervasive enough to make the victim unable to complete his or her work.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysThere are two types of sexual harassment according to the law: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile workplace sexual harassment. A supervisor requiring a subordinate to perform sexual favors in order to keep his or her job, for example, is quid pro quo sexual harassment. An employee who shares sexually explicit images with coworkers or consistently asks them inappropriate questions could be contributing to a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment is not always obvious, and it may sometimes be difficult to know what constitutes harassment.

Signs of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment can include requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. In order to be considered sexual harassment by law, these behaviors generally must be severe and pervasive. The legal definition of what specific behaviors constitute sexual harassment is vague. However, workers should know that inappropriate behavior does not have to be grandiose in order to qualify as sexual harassment. Subtle signs of sexual harassment may include:

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree