If you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, you may have the opportunity to receive compensation for damages. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by both federal law as well as Illinois state law. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unsolicited sexual advances, antagonistic behavior, or disparaging remarks about his or her gender which negatively affect the employee’s ability to do his or her job. Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to instances when a person of authority such as a boss or manager attempts to use his or her authority to gain sexual favors from subordinates. For some victims of workplace sexual harassment, filing a discrimination claim allows them to hold their employer accountable for wrongdoing and receive compensation for damages.
Types of Damages Available for Financial Compensation
In the context of an employment discrimination claim, the term “damages” refers to harm caused by the discriminating or harassing behavior. The amount of compensation a claimant can be awarded for sexual harassment is dependent on the damages he or she incurred. Damages in a sexual harassment claim most often include compensation for lost wages and missed career opportunities. Sometimes, compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, called compensatory damages, is awarded as well. Punitive damages are the least common type of damages addressed in sexual harassment claims and are designed to “punish” the employer for failing to address severe harassment or discrimination.
You May Be Entitled to Back Pay
Sexual harassment is not only humiliating and demeaning but it can also leave victims in financial distress. Victims of sexual harassment who were given fewer hours, paid less, denied a raise or promotion, or were fired as a result of sexual harassment, are often entitled to back pay. Back pay refers to the benefits an employee would have received if not for the sexual harassment. Back pay generally includes compensation for: