Tag Archives: workplace sexual harassment

DuPage County sexual harassment attorney

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.

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DuPage County sexual harassment lawyerNo one should ever be expected to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. Discrimination on the basis of sex and gender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and numerous other federal and Illinois state laws. Unfortunately, many employees are unaware of their right to report harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one type of harassment prohibited by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you have been a victim of quid pro quo or another type of sexual harassment at work, contact a sexual harassment attorney for help.

Victims of Quid Pro Quo Harassment May Be Employees or Potential Employees

The term “quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer, supervisor, or another person of authority attempts to trade a job-related benefit for sexual contact. The harassing party may imply or outrightly state that an employee will gain a favorable shift, work assignment, positive performance review, promotion, salary increase, or other work-related advantages if he or she tolerates the harassing party’s sexual advances. The harassing party may also threaten negative work consequences, such as a poor performance review or termination, if the employee does not submit to the sexual advances.

A victim of quid pro quo can also be a potential employee who has not yet been hired by the company. For example, an interviewer may make a pass at an applicant during a job interview and imply that the applicant will be hired if he or she complies with the sexual advances. It is very important to note that words, as well as actions, may constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment. An employer or supervisor does not have to explicitly state that a work benefit is contingent upon sexual contact in order to be guilty of quid pro quo harassment.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysYou have probably seen many news reports about sexual harassment in recent years. After the social media movement #MeToo launched in 2017, more and more people started taking workplace sexual harassment seriously. However, there is still much confusion surrounding exactly what sexual harassment is and is not. Is sexual harassment a crime? What constitutes sexual harassment? Many people are also confused as to the difference between sexual harassment, sexual assault, and “sexual misconduct.” Read on to learn about sexual harassment in Illinois and what you can do if you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work.

Defining Sexual Harassment

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees cannot be discriminated against or treated differently because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Sexual harassment violates the Civil Rights Act as well as Illinois state laws. Unwanted physical contact, sexual or gender-related comments and jokes, sexual advances, and requests for sexual favors can all be considered harassing behaviors. These behaviors become sexual harassment when the conduct interferes with the victim’s ability to do his or her job. “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs when a superior such as a boss or manager attempts to garner sexual favors from a subordinate in exchange for continued employment or workplace benefits.

Sexual Harassment Is Against the Law 

Sexual harassment is typically treated as a civil wrongdoing in the United States. However, some harassing acts may be criminal offenses. For example, if an employee forcibly touches another employee in a sexual way, this can be considered criminal sexual assault. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights. First, report the harassment to the human resources department or your superior preferably in writing via e-mail. If the harassment continues, you should contact an employment litigation attorney before doing anything else. Keep in mind, employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against an employee who reports sexual harassment. Retaliation can include firing the employee, transferring him or her to a less desirable position, reducing his or her work hours, and more. If you were fired or otherwise suffered financial harm as a result of reporting sexual harassment, contact an experienced sexual harassment attorney right away.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysThe issue of workplace sexual harassment is no longer a concealed topic. More and more brave victims are coming forward and saying “enough is enough” with regard to the discriminatory and humiliating problem of sexual harassment. However, there are still many myths and misunderstandings surrounding sexual harassment.

If you have experienced any version of sexual harassment at work, you should know that you do not have to tolerate this behavior. Both state and federal laws prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee who makes a sexual harassment complaint. If you make a sexual harassment complaint to a superior and you are fired or otherwise “punished” for speaking up, you may have a valid retaliation claim.

Sexual Harassment is Not Always Easy to Recognize

In television and movies, sexual harassment is usually extremely blatant and obvious. However, real life examples of sexual harassment are not always easy to identify. For example, many people incorrectly assume that sexual harassment only involves unwelcome sexual advances or demands for sexual contact of some kind. However, sexual harassment can also include unfair treatment or derogatory comments or behavior which is directed toward someone because of their gender. A superior who makes disparaging remarks about men or women could be guilty of sexual harassment even if the comments were not actually sexual in nature.

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Illinois sexual harassment retaliation lawyersAcross the country, men and women are saying “no more” to workplace sexual harassment. No one should be made to tolerate demeaning sexual remarks and behavior while they are at work. However, many people stay silent about sexual harassment because they are afraid reporting the sexual harassment will get them fired. Fortunately, there are laws in place which prohibit employers from firing an employee for making a sexual harassment complaint.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

There are two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law: quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a superior attempts to trade sexual attention for workplace perks or continued employment. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when derogatory, discriminatory, or sexual comments and behavior interferes with an employee’s ability to do his or her job.

Can I Sue for Wrongful Termination?

Illinois is an at-will state, which means an employee can be fired at any time and for almost any reason. However, there are several exceptions to the at-will rule. Legally, an Illinois employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory reasons or in retaliation for the employee exercising his or her rights. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws. If the only reason a person was fired was because they complained about sexual harassment, they may bring a wrongful termination lawsuit against the employer.

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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