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DuPage County sexual harassment lawyers

Troubling research suggests that at least 1 in 3 women experience sexual harassment in the workplace. It is a frightening statistic that lifts the lid on the darker side of employment. Despite the relative frequency of these incidents, many companies are still ill-equipped to deal with harassment reports. This has left many women and men unsure of how to react to unwanted advances.

There is no question that sexual harassment in any way, shape, or form is a serious matter. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Commission, even behavior such as teasing or offhand comments can be considered harassment if it happens frequently enough that it creates an offensive or hostile work environment. It could also be considered sexual harassment if it leads to an adverse employment decision in which the victim is demoted or terminated.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysWhile we know that television often glamorizes certain fantasies, one would be excused for believing in the idea of finding love in the workplace. Take the hit sitcom The Office, for example. Who wouldn’t want to find the Pam to their Jim or vice versa?

Of course, dating in the workplace has become much more complicated in recent years, especially in light of the #MeToo movement. More complicated, however, does not mean totally off limits. Even in 2020, it may be possible to ask a co-worker out on a date, but it is important to do so with great care and respect for your co-worker as a person.

Know the Rules

The first thing to keep in mind when it comes to dating a co-worker is that there might be rules against it, especially if one of you is in management and the other is not. In some workplaces, fraternization is formally prohibited. In others, it is merely frowned upon. In certain work environments, however—particularly those with many non-work interactions or after-hours events, workplace romances may be tolerated or outright supported.

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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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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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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