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Illinois sexual harassment lawyersEveryone deserves the right to feel safe and be free from harassment when they are at work. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be a problem in the United States and around the world.

Sexual harassment, as it is defined by the law, includes “hostile work environment” harassment and “quid pro quo” harassment. When sex-based remarks, jokes, and other derogatory behavior make a work environment intolerable for employees, this is considered a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo harassment most often involves a superior attempting to garner sexual favors in exchange for work benefits. Employees are protected from both types of harassment by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as various state and local laws. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, it is imperative that you report the harassment. Waiting to file a complaint about sexual harassment can significantly decrease the likelihood that you will receive compensation for damages.

Do Not Make the Mistake of Staying Silent About Harassment or Discrimination

Laws exists to protect employees from both harassment and retaliation. If you have been harassed, but fear reporting it because your employer will retaliate against you, you should know that the law is on your side. Victims of sexual harassment should carefully record any instances of harassing behavior they are subjected to and save copies of harassing emails or text messages. Next, they must follow the procedure outlined in their company’s employee handbook for reporting sexual harassment. If the employer does not resolve the situation, further legal action can be taken. A claimant, or person bringing a claim, can file a sexual harassment civil suit to recover financial compensation for damages like lost wages or back pay.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysTwo technology industry giants have recently made dramatic changes to their sexual harassment policies. Prior to this change, both Google and Facebook required employees to settle sexual harassment claims only through private arbitration. However, Google and Facebook employees will now be able to pursue sexual harassment claims in court.

Google’s announcement that they were changing this policy came after nearly 20,000 employees staged a walkout to protest the way the company manages sexual harassment allegations. Facebook made the change just one day after Google’s announcement. The new sexual harassment policies adopted by Facebook and Google will apply only to sexual harassment or assault claims. The policy does not apply to other types of discrimination complaints. 

Many Believe Forced Arbitration is Unconstitutional

Forced arbitration occurs when employees are required to sign documents in which they agree to settle legal disputes out of court. Instead of having their cases heard by a judge, an arbitrator decides the outcome of the case. Of course, citizens always have the right to arbitrate instead of going to trial. The issue arises when arbitrators are biased or companies choose arbitrators who rarely rule in favor of staff members. Although employees obviously have the option to not work for companies with forced arbitration requirements, many say that the practice is unconstitutional.

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DuPage County sexual harassment lawyers Sexual harassment is a form of sex-based employment discrimination prohibited by several state and federal laws. Employers cannot treat employees differently or give them different opportunities simply on the basis of sex alone.

The two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law are “quid pro quo” harassment and “hostile environment” harassment. The first happens when a superior or other person of authority attempts to garner sexual favors from employees in exchange for work benefits or promotions. An employer threatening to fire an employee who refuses his or her sexual advances is also committing quid pro quo harassment. Hostile environment harassment can include persistent comments, jokes, or physical contact which leaves an employee so disturbed, he or she is unable to do his or her job. If you have been sexually harassed, one of the most important steps you will need to take in order to bring your harasser to justice is to keep a sexual harassment log.

Your Sexual Harassment Log Can Be the Key to Proving Sexual Harassment Occurred

In previous articles, we have discussed the procedure for reporting workplace sexual harassment. Staying silent about harassment only gives the harasser more power to abuse other innocent people. One of the most powerful tools you have as an individual fighting against workplace sexual harassment is documentation. Almost all sexual harassment lawsuits depend on the victim’s ability to prove that the harassing behavior occurred. In addition to keeping copies of emails, text messages, and instant messages containing harassing language, victims of sexual harassment should also keep written notes about inappropriate or harassing behavior. These notes will be invaluable to you and your attorney if your sexual harassment case goes to trial.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIf you were to Google the phrase “sexual harassment,” the search engine will bring up more than 100 million results. This is probably not much of a surprise, considering the way that sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and sexual harassment have taken center stage in the public consciousness over the last year or so. Since last fall, dozens, if not hundreds, of influential individuals—most of them men—have been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct. Some are facing criminal charges while others have had their careers essentially destroyed.

While the resulting #MeToo movement has given victims of sexual misconduct the platform and the confidence to come forward with their stories, there have been unintended consequences as well. One of these is confusion among the general public about what sexual harassment is and when it is considered to be illegal.

Sexual Harassment is an Employment Issue

If you have been cat-called while walking down the street or continually asked out on a date by your neighbor, you may be the victim of harassment of a sexual nature. According to the law, however, you have not been sexually harassed. In fact, sexual harassment is not a criminal offense in Illinois. Harassment is a crime, as are intimidation, stalking, threatening, and similar behaviors, but they are crimes regardless of whether they include a sexual component.

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Illinois sexual harassment lawyersIn February of this year, a report in Sports Illustrated alleged “numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct” within the organization of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Now, after a seven-month investigation, it seems that the allegations were true, at least enough to warrant action by the league. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will also be donating $10 million to causes that support leadership and development of women in sports and that battle domestic violence.

Disturbing Allegations

The Sports Illustrated piece recounted stories told by current and former staff employees for the Mavericks organization—some of which went into fairly graphic detail. Many of the allegations were leveled against Terdema Ussery, the team’s president and CEO until 2015. According to the report, Ussery allegedly made inappropriate sexual comments to many workers, repeatedly propositioned others for sex, and even fondled others in public.

Those who tried to report the behavior said that they were ignored and unsupported by their superiors. In some cases, their superiors offered intimidating, almost threatening responses.

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